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Westside traffic, already the stuff of legends, is expected to worsen dramatically with the closing Monday of the California Incline in Santa Monica for a complete reconstruction designed to keep the structure from collapsing in an earthquake.

As part of a $20-million project, workers will begin demolishing the severely deteriorated road, technically a bridge, in anticipation of rebuilding it. The link, which descends from Ocean Avenue to Pacific Coast Highway, connecting the bluffs with the beach, is used by 15,000 vehicles daily.

Pacific Palisades and Malibu residents, in particular, anticipate that motorists will jam local canyon roads as they seek to shave minutes off disrupted commutes.

An environmental impact report prepared for the long-overdue project predicted that the close of the incline for as long as 13 months will cause “saturation” levels of traffic in Santa Monica Canyon.

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