OldWestNewWest.com: History & Travel Magazine

Feb 18th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Things to Do Scenic Drives Road Slide Closes Stretch of California’s Scenic Highway 1

Road Slide Closes Stretch of California’s Scenic Highway 1

Hits smaller text tool iconmedium text tool iconlarger text tool icon
A portion of California's scenic two-lane Highway 1 in Monterey County is closed to traffic due to a 40-foot section of the road that slipped into the Pacific Ocean on March 16, 2011.

The closure will have a significant impact on southbound tourists planning to visit California state parks in the Big Sur area.
California's Department of Transportation (Caltrans) said Highway 1 north of Big Sur and south of Carmel at Rocky Point will be closed indefinitely.

The closure is for all travelers including emergency vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.

"The incident happened around 5 p.m. Wednesday (March 16) and it was one of our crews that discovered it," said Susana Z. Cruz, Caltrans District 5 spokesperson. "There were no injuries."

All of the southbound lane is completely gone, while a portion of the northbound lane slipped away as well. The soil under the northbound lane remains soft and reportedly continues to give way.

"Caltrans crews are assessing the roadway right now to determine a repair strategy," Cruz said. "It may take a month to provide a temporary fix. We will need to re-establish the road bed."

Cruz said the cause of the slippage is uncertain, but recent rains in the area may have been a factor.

All businesses along coast Highway 1 remain open, she said. Alternate routes include state Highways 101, 68 and 46.

However, according to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, any person planning to visit the Big Sur area (Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Andrew Molera State Park, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and Point Sur Lightstation State Historic Park) will not be able to access the area from the north.

The only ingress to the area is now Highway 1 from Cambria. Those coming from the north will need to drive Highway 101 south, then Highway 46 west, then Highway 1 north.

This detour is significant and will increase the drive time by at least three hours, a California Parks spokesperson said.