You will not be able to drive Highway 1 between Big Sur and San Simeon for quite some time, and with good reason, because this rockslide has rendered that road pretty much unnavigable.
You’ve been hearing news all week about coastal chaos caused by the havoc of storms, and the latest example of this comes from near Ragged Point in northern San Luis Obispo County. As KPIX reports, a rockslide has closed a stretch of Highway 1, and the tweet below from Caltrans District 5 shows this closure is certainly the right call.
Picture of slide on #Hwy1 from this morning at Polar Star, one mile south of Ragged Point. Contractor engaged to help clear. Full closure remains in place. Assessments ongoing. Continue to ask public to please keep out of the closure area which will permit crews to work safely. pic.twitter.com/9TmAebtqJn— Caltrans District 5 (@CaltransD5) January 5, 2023
In a Thursday tweet, Caltrans District 5 said that “A slide on #Hwy1 below Ragged Point will take several weeks to repair.” Parts of this stretch are technically open right now, but only for locals, and the whole stretch will close again this afternoon at 5 p.m. “Hwy1 will reopen between Ragged Point and Deetjen’s [Big Sur Inn], on Friday Jan. 6, from 8 am to 5 pm for those who wish to leave to the north,” the Caltrans district said. “Full closure of #Hwy1 to return Friday at 5 pm ahead of forecast storms.”
#Highway1 is now closed in both directions from Ragged Point to south of #BigSur in #MontereyCounty due to rockslides. There is no estimate for re-opening. Please be aware of emergency responders and drive carefully during this storm system.— Caltrans District 5 (@CaltransD5) January 5, 2023
Road info: https://t.co/86BJHWuSgc pic.twitter.com/JHxoFx7a02
The closed areas have altered since the above tweet was posted Wednesday, because as Caltrans explains, “Additional rockfall on Hwy. 1 is anticipated.” According to Monterey Bay’s KSBW, “The new southern limit of the closure is located at a parking lot by the elephant seals viewing area in San Luis Obispo County, approximately four miles north of San Simeon. The northern limit for the closure remains just south of Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn in Monterey County."
And that’s a pretty significant stretch, more than 50 miles, as seen indicated in the yellow line above. It’s a yellow line rather than the typical Google Maps trip planner blue line, because right now Google Maps will give you a detour in that area, a detour that takes three hours and 40 minutes. But you probably already realize that this is not the best weekend for a scenic drive on Highway 1.
In fact, there won’t be any good weekends for scenic drives on Highway 1 for quite some time. KPIX assesses that the closure will last “for weeks, possibly months,” though adds a qualifier that “Caltrans will be looking for opportunities during this period to reopen the road during breaks in the weather as long as roadway conditions allow for safe travel.”
Image: CaltransD5 via Twitter