Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Big Sur, which has been in the process of being replaced after the former began collapsing into the canyon earlier this year, is now slated for an early October opening along Route 1. That's slightly behind the late September target that Caltrans had previously announced, but work is continuing steadily on an expedited schedule, as KRON 4 reports.
They now bring us the above video showing a time-lapse of the several weeks worth of work that went in to balancing and pulling the fully assembled bridge deck across the canyon, where it now rests 18 feet above concrete abutments, onto which it is now slowly being lowered.
Caltrans Structural Representative David Galarza tells KRON 4, "We've never taken a fully assembled bridge, the girders, and launched them longitudinally from one side of a canyon or an obstruction to the other side."
Weeks of heavy rains this past winter left the former bridge's concrete supports sliding down the canyon, and the bridge itself buckling as a result. It was closed to vehicle traffic on February 12, and would ultimately get fully demolished a month later, making way for the rush to replace it so that the economically gut-punched Big Sur area can have some hope of making some tourism revenue this year. Last year saw road closures and several of the main parks in the area closed due to the Soberanes Fire, which burned for months beginning in Garrapata State Park. And not long after the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge cut off traffic from the north, in May, the largest landslide in recorded California history took out a southern section of Highway 1 that is not expected to be replaced until next year. The result is that much of Big Sur has been very, very quiet this summer, with access to the central section of the region only available via an extremely long and mountainous road from Highway 101.
In about a month, traffic will once again flow from Monterey and Carmel, and Big Sur won't be an island any longer.