Hwy 1 will reopen in Mill Creek in late March
Highway 1 on the Big Sur Coast continues to be repaired after damage from winter storms. Caltrans officials released updates Tuesday on two major falls that have occurred this winter.
The Mill Creek slide occurred on January 14th at 6pm in Monterey County. Repairs at Mill Creek are nearing completion, according to Caltrans. The slope above the carriageway has remained intact during all the recent rains. Temporary concrete barriers still need to be installed along the southbound lane while permanent barriers are being constructed.
A small amount of additional repair work is required, requiring a period of dry weather before it can be completed. Approximately 30,000 cubic yards of material was removed during the repairs at Mill Creek.
Paul’s slide resumed on Jan. 15 at 10 p.m. in Monterey County. For several years, Caltrans claims that they have been managing the fall of debris on Paula Hill by creating a catchment area along the north section. Concrete barriers and fences were used as a protective barrier between the traffic lanes and the catchment area.
Falling debris was collected in a catchment area behind concrete barriers and removed later. The catchment area at Pola Hill was filled with rubbish and was cleared several times between November last year and January this year.
Because of the reactivation of the Pola slide with high activity on January 15, landslide material filled the catchment area along the northern reservoir. The slide moved the concrete barriers from the north shoulder to the center of the roadway. Since Paul’s slide reopened, there has been no significant protection that can be provided for travelers below the slide.
While the effects of sliding on the roadway are visible, the magnitude of sliding over the roadway is more complex, Caltrans says. Along nearly a quarter mile of the mountain, the January 15 slide displaced a huge amount of material, creating a new slide inside the larger slide.
Almost like a piece of cake, Caltrans officials say, the repair strategy calls for making a vertical cut into the mountain that will sculpt the slope in a way that will allow it to regain stability.
This repair must be done from the top down, both for the safety of the crews removing the skid material and because the toe of the skid currently creates a force to resist the downward force of the skid material above it.
Crews made initial progress to the top of the slide area and began removing material. This work has been slowed by recent rains.
As soon as the weather permits serious repairs to be resumed on the Polo Hill, massive earthworks will continue to deliver material up the hill and cut the slope to the roadway below. This work will not allow driving through Paul’s Hill during the renovation. The material near the roadway at the toe of the slide cannot be cleared because it creates a drag force for the slide above. There is no significant protection against the debris that continues to fall from the slope, which will continue to do so during the renovation.
The amount of material to be removed from the Polo Hill is estimated at approximately 500,000 cubic yards. That’s more than 15 times more material than was removed in the Polaris or Mill Creek slides, according to Caltrans.
There is no estimated time for the reopening of Highway 1 at Polo Hill. It may take several months. Crews will continue to work around the clock seven days a week to make these repairs.
The Aurora Borealis occurred on January 4 one mile south of Rugged Point in San Luis County. Caltrans reports that the grade above the roadway has remained stable and has not caused any problems since the highway opened on February 11. The slope was cut to reach a point of stability, and during this repair about 30,000 cubic yards of slip was removed. .