October 25, 2021 12:20 PM
by Kathy Lo
The Santa Monica Public Library is excited to share the newest addition to the Library's digital archives collection --- California Incline Bridge Replacement Project, 2015-16. With it, we provide a visual record of the construction of one of the most significant civic projects in the City's history.
About the Collection
Highway ramps are usually not postcard-worthy structures, but California Incline is in a different league. The Incline extends approximately 1,400 feet from the intersection of Ocean and California Avenues at the top of the Palisades bluffs to the Pacific Coast Highway at the base of the bluffs. Not only is it a vital traffic route connecting downtown Santa Monica to Pacific Coast Highway, it is also a destination point with a breathtaking view of the Santa Monica Bay.
By the early 1990s, the deteriorating structure (which had been in place for some 80 years) was deemed seismically deficient. In 2007, a federal grant provided the bulk of the funds needed to rebuild the historic structure. And, on April 20, 2015, crews began demolishing the existing Incline and constructing a new, modern one.
A partnership between the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the City of Santa Monica, the $17 million California Incline Bridge Replacement Project opened with much civic fanfare on September 1, 2016. The new Incline includes:
- A 52-foot bridge for vehicular traffic;
- A barrier-separated lane dedicated to pedestrian and bicycle traffic;
- Stabilized bluffs reinforced with some 1,000 soil nails;
- The Idaho Trail pedestrian overcrossing (connecting Palisades Park and the Incline) supported by a V-shaped pier.
This collection consists of several hundred images taken by Gary Bonart, a long-time Santa Monica resident. Bonart visited the California Incline site from June 2015 to October 2016 to document the construction and the opening of the new Incline. After his passing in 2020, a family member donated the images to the Library.
Currently, the Collection covers June 2015 to June 2016. It will be expanded later this year with the remainder of the donation (July to October 2016.)