Highway 1 could reopen between Ragged Point and Big Sur in about four weeks — weather and terrain permitting, Caltrans announced Tuesday.
Caltrans is working to clear three major blockages caused by the landslides, the agency said in a news release. Weeks of rainfall have caused the slopes above these areas to give way and more movement could occur at any moment.
When those areas finally reopen to traffic, at least one of them is expected to have back-to-back traffic and lane closures.
The slides, which were made over 12 days in January, are North Star, about a mile south of Rugged Point, Mill Creek, located about 18 miles north of the border between Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties, and Paul. Gorka, about 22 miles north of the boundary line.
The North Star slide appeared first on January 4th, followed by the Paul slide on January 14th and the Mill Creek slide on January 15th.
Caltrans closed the scenic highway from the Piedras Blancos Elephant Seal Viewing Area, four miles north of San Simeon, to Lime Creek, about 14 miles south of Big Sur.
“Anyone who attempts to cross these slides is advised that they are not only putting themselves at serious risk,” Caltrans said in a release, “but they are also passing that risk on to public safety and first responders who must respond to any incidents.” .
Convoys provide relief to people affected by the Highway 1 closure
Caltrans and the county’s emergency operations center are running resupply convoys to deliver food, medicine and other items to residents and businesses in affected areas. One was scheduled for Tuesday, the other for Friday.
Each convoy will depart from the north gate at Polo (PM 22.5) at 8 a.m. and proceed to the north closure boundary at Lime Creek (PM 32), Caltrans said. The convoy will then turn around and head south to the gate on Paul’s Hill.
The convoys will then repeat the route, starting from the north gate of Paul Slide at noon and at 4 p.m.
The agency has asked residents to wait outside their driveways if they want to join the motorcade as it passes.
Slides continue to evolve
According to Caltrans, each of the slides has its own hazards and problems, from a failed rockfall fence at Paula Hill to water and mud actively flowing onto the highway at Mill Creek and slopes that could fail at North Star.
“Caltrans is committed to providing access to the roadway as soon as road conditions permit,” the agency said in a release.
Caltrans said it will provide updates as new information becomes available.
This story was originally published January 24, 2023 at 6:26 p.m.