The California Incline has been closed for construction for almost a year and a half.
Today, it reopens. The picturesque ramp connects Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica to the Pacific Coast Highway below.
The Incline was first built in 1896 and it opened to motor vehicles in 1905. The last time it was upgraded was in the 1930's.
"We got a full lifespan out of the 1930s improvement," said Lee Swain, Santa Monica city engineer.
Now, Swain says the California Incline is state-of-the-art. The ramp was also widened an additional 5.5 feet to include a separate bike lane and pedestrian walkway. The project to rebuild the Incline cost about $17 million, 90 percent of which came from federal funding. A $2 million project for a new pedestrian overpass on PCH was locally funded.
City officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday morning. There's a mini-festival on the ramp going on until 2 p.m. today for pedestrians. At 5 p.m., the first cars will roll on the Incline.
In many ways, the Incline is just a traffic ramp with a cool name, but in Southern California, sometimes roads are more than roads — they have cultural significance.
A Martinez spoke to writer David Ulin about the cultural significance of the California Incline.
Click the blue audio player to hear the full interview.