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Work Begins on Kanan Tunnel Project

Malibu motorists express concern about the project's impact on safety on Kanan Dume Road.

A $7.2 million project aimed at revamping two of three sets of tunnels on Kanan Dume Road near Malibu got underway Thursday.

Traffic has already be reduced to one barrel of the tunnels for the project, which is expected to take a year.

The maintenance work is focused on installing steel liners for T-3 and T-2, the two tunnels located closer to Agoura Hills. T-1, which is closer to Malibu, is not included in the project.

“We want to make sure the tunnels are lined properly,” said Mike Kaspar, a spokesman for L.A. County Public Works. “When we are done with the one barrel, we will move over to the other.”

Earlier this week, crews installed signs warning motorists to slow down, re-striped the northbound lane to allow for traffic in both directions and put in cones to differentiate the lanes, Kaspar said.

Dana Fineman of Malibu said she is concerned about the project, especially because many motorists normally use the tunnels to pass slower vehicles.

“People are just conditioned. It’s just a knee jerk reaction so people are not thinking,” Fineman said.

Fineman said she drives up and down Kanan at least once a day, and that other than a sign at Agoura Road in Agoura Hills, the signage is not adequate coming down Kanan Dume Road from the valley.

“They need to put a big flashing sign. I can see the way people are driving, everyone is confused. They don’t know what to do,” she said.

Earlier in the week, before the cones were installed, she said the unsafe traffic flow nearly caused an accident.

“When I first went up, there wasn’t even yellow lines painted yet. It was done so unprofessionally for our tax dollars,” Fineman said, adding that she witnessed a sports car drive in opposing lanes.

A few other motorists complained about the lack of notice about the project.

Motorists looking for an alternate route to the 101 Freeway can take Mulholland Highway to Las Virgenes Road.

Barrie Livingstone November 02, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Can we ease have a full explanation of why lining these two short tunnels will have such an already precarious road affected for a year. This project should be worked on with speed. I have seen roads and tunnels built in Dubai, Malaysia and China where things appear to happen overnight. There has to be a reason why this is slated to take such a seemingly absurd amount if time. America needs jobs but we also need infrasrucure that is built safely and in an expeditious manner. The contractor needs to be accountable fir time to both cities. We all use that major road and time is of the essence.
Fred November 02, 2012 at 03:11 PM
I would bet the reason is due to bureaucratic red tape . Various permits , inspections , ect. ect. Any job involving city , county or state , is a nightmare .
Just Wondering... November 02, 2012 at 06:44 PM
What?!?! A YEAR?!? What are they using to line the tunnels, dimes and Krazy Glue? Good thing they didn't start this project right after Labor Day with the plan of getting it finished before Memorial Day. Let me tell you, it was great thinking to leave the tunnels open for two low-traffic months and start in November, so that we are sure that the tunnels will still be closed next summer. After all, there is hardly any beach traffic on Kanan during the summer months. I am sure one lane tunnels won't create any traffic problems on weekends next summer, especially holidays. FYI, if you use Kanan, you are screwed next summer, especially on weekends. Does anyone who plans these things have a brain or do any due diligence? Do they know Kanan is the main connector between the Conejo Valley and Malibu beaches? You cannot reduce Kanan to one lane each way through a tunnel, where you have to slow down to about 30 to 40 mph, during summer months. While we're at it, why don't we also close one lane of PCH each way through Malibu from Memorial Day through Labor Day next summer. That's probably a good time to do it and won't affect traffic either. If LA Public Works had a brain, they would have started this on September 4 and made sure it was done by next May 24. Nine months seems to be plenty of time to get this done. Or do one set of tunnels winter 2012-13, and the other set winter 2013-14. Plus, they should use quarters instead of dimes to line the tunnels. Quarters are much bigger.
Hans Laetz November 02, 2012 at 08:01 PM
I just love the "alternate route to PCH" sign helpfully directing people to Mulholland. You know, the switchbacks past the Rock Shop? Wonder how many tourists will nosedive off that nightmare. But really, this isn't the 405. Paying for an expedited rush job would cost extra money, and they probably made a decision to do it at the most-economical cost. If people just drive slowly, we'll all survive.
Shelley Marks Kramer November 02, 2012 at 08:32 PM
I drive over Kanan at least twice a week and have not seen any workers working on this project at all. what do they have bankers hours I do not understand what would take a year to replace, or repair this road. It did not seem anything was wrong with the way it was? Wonder what the details are over this?
Just Wondering... November 02, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Dear thousands of beachgoers who use Kanan all summer, including motorcycle racers and drunken masses leaving Paradise Cove, Please drive slowly, calmly and courteously through the tunnels. You now have about five feet and thin plastic poles separating you from cars speeding in the opposite direction, and a rock wall immediately to your right. Be mature and responsible. Do not get frustrated and try anything dangerous just because northbound Kanan is now a one-way road from just before T-1 to after Troutdale. Thank you. There, that should fix the problem. No one is asking for expedited work. We are just asking for LA County to use common sense and not have lanes closed inside tunnels on a heavily used and already dangerous canyon road during the peak use period from Memorial Day to Labor Day. As usual, stupidity and lack of common sense rule the day. The tunnel under construction has two-way traffic inside one very narrow and dangerous passageway, with zero margin for error. It is manageable if you are a decent driver, are paying attention, and slow down considerably. Unfortunately, not all drivers have those qualities. Some who crowd the beaches on summer weekends also have added elements of a feeling of youthful invincibility, a lot of horsepower and/or alcohol. All it will take is one show-off, drunk or idiot in one of those tunnels, and you'll have an instant head-on fatality. The chance of that happening is much higher with beach traffic next summer.
Pamela Conley Ulich November 02, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Unacceptable. LA County must be accountable. Thank you everyone above for making great points. LA County Department of Public Works must use common sense when making repairs. At a minimum, please put up K-Rail in the tunnels where we are only inches away from another head-on collision and get the work done before summer. Do what it takes. Remember - you are AMERI-CAN not AMERI-NOCANDOS!
Kahala 21 November 02, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Pamela, how do we get our voices heard and have a possibility of affecting a change? This is negligence of safe driving conditions.
Pamela Conley Ulich November 02, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Call or e-mail the LA County Board of Supervisors to express your concern about safety issues and lack of accountability. Call or e-mail City Council Members via Lpope@malibucity.org or 310-456-CITY. Mayor La Monte can ask for a meeting with Supervisor Yaraslovsky and try to apply pressure. When Kanan was closed years ago and former Mayor/Council member Jeff Jennings was able work with LA County to get them to move on it. Hopefully our voices will be heard!
Vern H November 03, 2012 at 05:03 PM
You folks are a bunch of snivelers.
Mike Curtis November 03, 2012 at 05:32 PM
I've been to Dubai, China, and Malaysia. I've seen many things built in those countries that I wouldn't want to get anywhere near. Also, when a natural disaster strikes those countries they measure casualties in 100's or 1000's.
Fred November 08, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Common sence ?????? From county employees ??? You can't be serious .....

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