Highway 1 in Big Sur opens more than a year after California landslide

Posted at 6:40 PM, Jul 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-18 18:40:58-04

Dirt and stones are blocking the sweeping views of a coastal scenic highway in California. A portion of the Pacific Coast Highway, considered by some as one of the most scenic drives in the US, was buried by a massive landslide, the California Department of Transportation said.

California’s scenic Highway 1 south of Big Sur reopened Wednesday more than a year after a major landslide buried the road, transportation officials said.

The landslide at Mud Creek in 2017 heaped six million tons of rock and dirt on about a quarter mile section of the coastal highway in the Big Sur region. The highway had already been closed at that spot for months, and at other points, after unusually heavy winter and spring rains caused landslides.

Highway 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway, is the main artery running through Big Sur, a picturesque stretch and major tourist attraction.

The portion at Mud Creek, located about nine miles north from the San Louis Obispo / Monterey County line, was final piece to reopen the entire Highway 1, Susana Cruz, a spokesperson with Caltrans said Wednesday. Other portions, including Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Monterey, reopened last year.

“The dream of traveling Highway 1 from San Francisco to San Diego is a reality again,” she said.

The $54 million repair project included reconstruction of a quarter mile of new roadway built on new slide material and compacted embankment at the south and north ends, according to Caltrans. The roadway is 150 to 260 feet above sea level and buttressed by embankments, berms, rocks and other material, Caltrans said.

Cruz said the portion at Mud Creek opened two months ahead of schedule and two days before an official ribbon cutting set for Friday.