Every few years a piece of Highway 1 in Northern California tends to disappear into the ocean. And this year it happened in late January to 150-foot stretch of the roadway in Big Sur — not far from where a much larger landslide occurred four years ago.
The roadwork is complete and Gov. Gavin Newsom was on hand for the reopening of Highway 1 today. Caltrans worked day and night to get the road repaired/replaced in a quick three months — and a week ahead of the last estimate of April 30. An original estimate by Caltrans following the January 28 washout near Rat Creek was that the road would likely be closed until summer.
"We are truly blessed by this coast of dreams and today we are blessed to be back and to see this iconic highway up and operational and back on its feet, just as this state is getting back on its feet," said Newsom at the event, per KTVU. "We got something done ahead of schedule and on budget."
#Hwy1/#BigSur Update: after being closed for nearly 3 months, Rat Creek will open this Friday, Apr 23 at noon. What an amazing transformation since Jan 28 when 150 feet of road washed out after heavy rains. Big kudos to our crews/contractors for their hard work. @CaltransHQ pic.twitter.com/ZQ6NAwS8zB— Caltrans District 5 (@CaltransD5) April 19, 2021
As the Chronicle reports, work is going to continue after the road reopens to traffic to install a 10-meter-diameter culvert beneath the road to prevent future landslides.
Road closures like this one and the year-long closure after the 2017 landslide at Mud Creek cut off the Big Sur community from travelers from the south. And now that people are moving around the state a bit more, restaurants and other businesses in Big Sur are relieved that the road is back open.
"This means everything to us,” says Nepenthe restaurant manager Kirk Gafill, speaking to the Chronicle. "This reunites our community and lifts our morale and spirits. Highway 1 is our lifeline and whenever the road is closed it has an extraordinary impact."