The wait is over and long-suffering Big Sur area businesses will once again be accessible from Highway 1 starting next Friday, the 13th of October. Caltrans crews have been working around the clock on the replacement bridge since demolishing the former one in March it was declared unusable after its pilings slipped into the canyon below due to heavy winter rains. Now, as the Associated Press and others are reporting, the new $24 million bridge is just about done, and access to the majestic, redwood-laden coastal area from the north will resume after over six months of limited access.
Access from the south, you'll remember, remains blocked by a gargantuan landslide at Mud Creek that happened in May which will need to have a new road built atop it at an expense of $40 million, with work expected to be complete on that by next summer.
Regarding the new bridge, Caltrans spokesperson Jim Shivers tells the Mercury News, "We did seven years of work in about seven months. It’s pretty remarkable what work has been done here, it’s really amazing.” As you can see in the rendering above, the new bridge is a fixed beam across the canyon and does not rely on concrete pilings on the unstable hills.*
As we've heard from various stories in these last few months, the community of Big Sur is used to being cut off from civilization, but this particular closure hurt fairly badly given that it was at the height of tourist season, and it was from both the north and the south. Until next Friday, locals are continuing to use a footpath that was constructed to allow them to get in and out of the area to Monterey and Carmel.
* Correction: A previous version of this piece incorrectly stated that the new bridge was a cantilever-style bridge.
Previously: Video: Time-Lapse Of Big Sur Bridge Construction