If you can't dig under a problem, you may as well climb over it.
That's what Caltrans is concluding with regard to that quarter mile of Pacific Coast Highway 1 that was completely buried by a million tons of earth this past May. (SFist told you all about it.) The landslide, called the Mud Creek Slide and the largest in recorded California history, blocked the Central Coast road near Big Sur, screwing up travel plans during the peak summer months and forcing drivers in some cases to use a three-hour detour.
Now, according to KPIX 5, authorities have announced that the pile of rocks and dirt cascading down into the sea is stable enough to build upon. So instead of trying to dig a tunnel through this mess, Caltrans is going to build a road over it.
"There's no schematic or illustration just yet. It's still in the draft stages," spokesman for the California Department of Transportation Jim Shivers reassured the Chronicle.
Shivers also (rather obviously) noted that just leaving the landslide alone wasn't an option, saying, "When people suggest we just walk away, that's just never been in the cards for us."
Who would suggest that? It's Highway 1. You have to fix it, Jim.
Caltrans is estimating about a year to complete the job, and no one knows yet how much it will cost.
Meanwhile, Big Sur remains extraordinarily quiet this August, though the part of Highway 1 that was blocked off by a different landslide this past spring, called Paul's Slide, was just reopened two weeks ago, meaning that those who can brave the three-hour, over-mountain detour from the east known as Nacimiento-Fergusson Road can now access Big Sur in both the northern and southern directions, at least as far down as the Mud Creek slide, and as far up as Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge. That bridge replacement is expected to be complete in September, meaning long-suffering Big Sur businesses can get relatively back to normal with NorCal tourism this fall.