Work began today on the first in a series of planned improvements to Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu aimed at increasing public safety.
The traffic light at Big Rock Drive at Pacific Coast Highway is getting a left turn signal for the first time. Malibu City Councilman Lou La Monte told Video News West he hoped the turn signal would reduce the number of accidents and fatalities.
"It's unbelievable," La Monte said of the intersection. "And now we finally have (the signal)."
La Monte said the turn signal will enable residents in Big Rock, where he lives, to make a safe left turn onto PCH.
"When you are making a left turn here, you are in the left turn pocket. The other cars, in the other lane are coming directly at you," La Monte said. "There has been so many incidences when people have not been paying attention and that's when accidents happen."
The work, expected to be completed by Memorial Day, is being paid for with part of the $14 million Measure R funds allocated to Malibu last year from the Los Angeles County Metro Transit Authority for PCH safety.
The city of Malibu plans to the Measure R money to create bike lanes, install a raised median between Webb Way and Corral Canyon Road, and to pay improvements to accommodate regional traffic messaging, as well as permanent and mobile messaging systems.
The city plans to start improvements Thursday on a runaway truck ramp on Kanan Dume Road at PCH. The gravel bed, or "arrester bed," helped stop an Arrowhead water truck last year when its brakes failed.
During a three-month period in the late 1980s, four people were killed in three crashes involving runaway trucks, according to the L.A. Times. The deaths prompted the Los Angeles County board of supervisors to spend $450,000 on arrester bed construction.
Malibu city officials have been working with Caltrans for year to improve safety on the city's 21-mile section of PCH.
"There's nothing more important in Malibu," Councilwoman Laura Zahn Rosenthal said, referring to PCH safety. "We have our main highway -- we don't own it, but we do have to police it and it is a very dangerous street."
--City News Service