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Feb 24th
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Home Things to Do Scenic Drives California’s Scenic Highway 1 to Re-Open for Travelers

California’s Scenic Highway 1 to Re-Open for Travelers

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UPDATE: On Thursday afternoon, June 9, Caltrans announced it had fully re-opened California Highway 1 to all traffic at Alder Creek just north of the Monterey County / San Luis Obispo County line.

Original Story: California's scenic coastal Highway 1 will re-open to motorists by Friday, June 10, 2011 after Caltrans crews finish clearing away the last truck loads of mountain rocks and debris that closed the route in both directions 40 miles south of Big Sur.

"It could be sooner," a Caltrans spokesperson said, "but it will definitely be by Friday. It's up to the contractor to tell us when the road is ready to re-open."

highway1_hillsideA devastating slide on April 14 had closed Highway 1 at Alder Creek completely in both directions to all public traffic, including motorized vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.

Geologic instability and debris that continued to fall on Highway 1 made it extremely hazardous for work crews to handle clean-up operations. Caltrans estimated that more than 286,000 tons of material had to be removed before the road could re-open.

A couple of crew members suffered minor injuries from falling rocks during the cleanup, Caltrans said.

Work operations changed over the Memorial Day weekend from top-down slide repair to actual hauling off material. The final steps included flying metal rock nets by helicopter for installation to provide slope protection.

Caltrans said when Highway 1 opens to traffic at Alder Creek the opening will be permanent, and no additional closures are expected.

The Alder Creek slide was the second major blow during early 2011 to the fabled coastal road between Morro Bay and Monterey. A series of heavy late-winter and early-spring storms pounded the coast with torrential rains, washing away thousands of tons of rock and dirt.

A major portion of Highway 1, about 13 miles south of Carmel, between the Rocky Creek Bridge and the Bixby Creek Bridge, was damaged on March 16 by what was called a "crib wall" failure, dropping a major section of the roadway into the sea.

Temporary repairs included rebuilding the roadbed so that one lane, controlled by a traffic light, could allow traffic to again start flowing. A permanent repair is still being studied, and may include creating a bridge bypass over the damaged area.