Premium Top

Billboard Top

To top

Ambitious Santa Monica Causeway

Felix Baumann
Santa Monica

Ever heard about the Santa Monica Causeway? A realisation of this project would have turned the Santa Monica beaches into a sixties version of the Dubai shoreline.

Overview of the proposed Santa Monica Causeway (Picture: The Guardian)

At the height of the automotive city planning theories in 1961, visionary John Drescher proposed a bold infrastructure concept for the Santa Monica shoreline. To relieve the traffic of the Pacific Coast Highway, a new causeway should be built around one kilometre off shore. A 10 kilometres long cascade of man-made islands should carry the causeway over the Santa Monica Bay, connecting the Freeway 10 with Malibu.

Tackling Traffic Jams at the Beach

In the early 20th century Santa Monica became a famous resort town for the fast-growing Los Angeles County. Soon the scenic beach was overcrowded by cars of visitors and traffic jams were blocking the roads. Aircraft designer Dreschers idea of the artificial islands included space for residential and recreation areas with beaches for up to 50.000 persons.

Vetoed by the Governor

Beside the City of Santa Monica, estate developers and oil tycoons backed the project. However, the public was divided into supporters and opponents. The controversial project would cause excavations of over 90 million cubic metre of the Santa Monica Mountains, which lead to a staggering expense of around 600 million dollars. After ongoing protests, governor Pat Brown stopped the project in 1965. Santa Monica Causeway, which reminds of the shoreline of Dubai, would have caused major damage to around 5.000 marine species. Today, the through traffic is handled by common highways laying landward.