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Feb 21st
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Home Things to Do Scenic Drives California Highway 1 to Reopen Mid-Week 25 Miles South Of Big Sur

California Highway 1 to Reopen Mid-Week 25 Miles South Of Big Sur

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UPDATE: Caltrans has reopened Highway 1 to traffic. The agency announced that as of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, the coastal road is once again able to safely handle vehicles.

ORIGINAL STORY: California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) officials said Jan. 30 that Highway 1, closed by a rock slide about 25 miles south of Big Sur, should reopen by midweek.

When it does reopen, Highway 1 will remain under one-way traffic signal controls as it was prior to the slide.

highway1_update6Categorizing the rock slide a medium-sized event, Caltrans spokesperson Jim Shivers said work crews have been busy removing rocks and replacing the steel rock netting ever since the slide took place on Jan. 23.

Heavy winter rains swept into Central California on Jan. 23, 2012, drenching the rugged and steep hillsides, loosening tons of rocks and debris. This current major rock slide is near the small town of Lucia, and closed Highway 1 (Post Mile 22) in both north and south directions.

All Big Sur and coastal businesses remain OPEN with detours available for motorists, Shivers said.

Northbound traffic going to Big Sur is being detoured to Highway 101, then to Highway 68 in Salinas, eastbound to Monterey and then southbound to Big Sur.

The geologically unstable area is where Caltrans crews have been attempting to build a bridge and rock shed to allow debris to fall under and over Highway 1.

The $29.5 million repair project is not scheduled to be completed before spring 2013.

Shivers told OldWestNewWest.com Travel & History Magazine that it's not possible to extend the rock shed farther south.

"The cliff is just too sheer in that area," he said. "There's just no room."

The area known as Limekiln Creek has seen several rock slides over the years.

A devastating slide on April 14, 2011 completely closed Highway 1 at Alder Creek in both directions to all public traffic, including motorized vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.

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.

To see our earlier report on the rock slide, click here.