Some 18 months after a vast mud flow covered a quarter-mile long stretch of Highway 1 near Big Sur, the road has reopened, handily beating a September opening target date.
The reopening for vehicles took place the morning of July 18, several days after bicycles were allowed to use the road. The opening had been expected a few days later but was moved up when final preparations were completed quickly.
The closing of Highway 1 after the winter storms of 2016-17 added hours of detours to the southbound trip from Big Sur and isolated parts of Northern San Luis Obispo County, including the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, typically one of the region’s most popular tourist destinations.
After studying several alternative solutions, CalTrans came up with an innovative plan to strengthen the slide area, cap it with a new road and move Highway 1 to the west and over the top of the debris flow.
Crews worked around the clock to reopen the highway a few months ahead of the planned September 2018 opening; bridges were rebuilt as well. The total project cost $54 million.