MALIBU—The city of Malibu revealed that construction is starting on Malibu’s Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) Traffic Signal Synchronization Project in June to improve traffic safety and mobility on PCH.

“PCH is one of California’s most scenic state highways whose beach access and coastal views draw of millions of visitors per year, but it is also Malibu’s Main Street,” said Mayor Bruce Silverstein. “PCH safety and mobility are one of the most important quality of life issues in our community, so I applaud the start of this project.”

The project, which is estimated to take more than one year to complete, will install 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.

According to CalTrans, PCH at Malibu Canyon Road handles roughly 4,600 cars per hour, or approximately 40,500 vehicles per day during peak hours in 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 over 4,000 traffic collisions, 1,600 of which involved injuries and more than 100,000 traffic citations have been issued. Excessive speed is the most commonly cited violation each year. Speeding and improper turns are the most common contributing factor to collisions, both which will be directly addressed by the Traffic Signal Synchronization Project. The system can be used strategically to help keep emergency evacuations moving quickly and safely.

The $34.6 million project is fully funded through Measure R funds administered by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The new traffic signals will be connected to the Caltrans Traffic Management Center, allowing Caltrans to control and operate the signals and the signal system remotely. New equipment will capture actual traffic data and send those details to the traffic signal controllers. The new traffic signal controller will contain state-of-the art software that can adjust the traffic signal timing to actual traffic volume conditions. This will help alleviate traffic congestion on PCH and decrease the response time to manually adjust the traffic signal timing.

Malibu’s contractor will be using the city’s triangular vacant parcel on Civic Center Way, PCH and Webb Way during pre-construction and construction for staging vehicles, employee and construction vehicle parking, a temporary construction office, and storage of materials and new traffic signal poles. Using this region will make the project faster and more efficient, and decrease vehicle traffic on PCH and Malibu Canyon. Per the city’s requests, the contractor will install a temporary fence and screening, and has committed to keep the location clean during construction.

The parcel was used for staging on previous projects, including the Civic Center Water Treatment Facility and the Civic Center Way Improvements Project. The Planning Department has verified that no additional permits will be required for this temporary construction staging area. Malibu will put out public messaging and traffic alerts so that motorists and neighbors know what to expect during the construction period.

For more details, see the staff report: