MALIBU—On November 29, the city of Malibu indicated in a news release that work will start on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) starting between Topanga Canyon and Big Rock Drive in Malibu the week of December 4 on Malibu’s Traffic Signal Synchronization Project, which is a significant measure to date to improve safety and mobility on PCH.
“Since 2010, 58 individuals have died in accidents on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, and it is no surprise that improving safety on this iconic highway has been a top priority for our City,” said Mayor Steve Uhring. “Our signal synchronization project is a major step toward our goal of a safer PCH. Once completed it will make PCH safer for our residents, for the 40,000 commuters who pass through Malibu every day and for the 15 million visitors who visit Malibu every summer.”
The goal of the project is to make PCH a safer “Smart Corridor” by installing communication lines between the existing traffic signals on PCH from Topanga Canyon Boulevard to John Tyler Drive to synchronize the signals to existing traffic conditions. It will allow signals to be controlled remotely by the Caltrans Traffic Management Center to lower traffic speeds and decrease congestion.
New equipment will capture real-time traffic data and send it to the traffic signal controllers who will be using state-of-the art software to adjust the traffic signal timing to actual traffic volume. Vehicles going the speed over the speed limit will run into red lights, while those going the speed limit will encounter green lights. The project has new closed circuit TV cameras at each intersection; replace existing signal poles, street improvements and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility upgrades, Adaptive Traffic Control System (ATCS) sensors, and changeable message signs.
The project was approved by the Malibu City Council in 2017 and is a step toward achieving the top priority of Malibu’s PCH Safety Study.
According to CalTrans, PCH at Malibu Canyon Road sees roughly 4,600 cars per hour, or approximately 40,500 vehicles per day during peak hours during the summer months. About 1,215,000 vehicles pass through Malibu on PCH every month during the summer.
In the past 10 years, Malibu had more than 4,000 traffic collisions, 1,600 of which involved injuries and more than 100,000 traffic citations have been issued.
On October 17, 2023, four students from Pepperdine were killed by a speeding motorist while walking along PCH. Excessive speed is a commonly cited violation every year.
Speeding and improper turns are the most common contributing factor to collisions, both ofwhich will be directly addressed by the Traffic Signal Synchronization Project. The system will be used to enhance emergency evacuations and keep traffic moving rapidly and safely.
The $34.6 million project is fully funded through Measure R funds administered by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and is expected to take about one year to complete.
Work hours will transpire Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. with alternating lane closures in both directions, mostly on the right-hand lanes. Summer work hours (Memorial Day to Labor Day) will be Monday through Friday 7 a.m. – 4 p.m., with some nighttime work.
Residents can expect noise, lights, vibrations, and dust while work is being complete. Individuals are sked to look for workers and work vehicles in and around the roadway and altered traffic patterns. Under California law, traffic citations are doubled in construction zones. For more details visit www.MalibuCity.org/PCHSignalSynch.