The Mud Creek Slide in the southern part of Big Sur, which has been called one of the biggest and perhaps the biggest landslide in state history, will require a new road to be constructed over it that Caltrans now estimates will cost about $40 million and take until the end of next summer to complete. The May 20 landslide, caused by a mountainside heavily saturated with winter rains, has isolated a large section of the Big Sur community that was already cut off by the demolition of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge earlier in the year. As the Chronicle reports, that bridge replacement, originally scheduled to be done by the end of this month, now has "no estimated opening date" though last we heard it would be open next month.
State tourism agency Visit California tells the Chronicle that Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties are expecting to see a $554 million loss in visitor-related revenue as a result of the two road closures, and that number may only climb as delays factor into the two infrastructure projects at either end of Big Sur.
Another factor: If the upcoming winter turns out to be another wet one, it's anybody's guess what that could add to the timeline for rebuilding Highway 1 around the Mud Creek Slide.
"We are working to safely rebuild the road in this complex and unpredictable area,” said Caltrans District 5 Director Tim Gubbins in a statement to CBS 5. The project of building a new road over the mound of dirt will involve “embankments, berms, rocks, netting, culverts and other stabilizing material.”
Manager of the Big Sur River Inn Rick Aldinger says to the Chron, “We certainly wish the road could open sooner. We wish it could open tomorrow. But it’s part of living here and doing business here. These things happen."
Previously: Video: Time-Lapse Of Big Sur Bridge Construction