H-CAMBRIA

Jun 10, 2011 12:30 AM by Danielle Lerner

Businesses hope Highway 1 reopening will bring more tourists

Highway 1 is back open to all traffic. Crews have been working since April to clear away the landslide that covered the road near Alder Creek and they say it has not been easy.

On Wednesday afternoon crews were busy putting the final touches on the cleanup, finishing a day earlier than expected. However the work has been difficult and there were plenty of complications along the way.

"There's been a lot of hurdles here, just last weekend we got four inches of rain right here, brought down a lot more of the hill than we expected," said Robert Bonilla, a field inspector with Cal Trans.

The highway is a major travel vein for tourists and the closures have lead to a tough couple of months for places like Indigo Moon in Cambria.

"Business hasn't been that great lately because Cambria is more of a stop through on the way up north or down south and we're not getting that because we've got all the flashing signs that say roads closed," said Kayla Tinker, who works at Indigo Moon.

Now that it is open, Tinker hopes to leave her slow days behind.

"I'm happy, I would love to see me get so busy I don't know what I'm doing, running around, because you make more money that way," she said.

So as the cleanup ends, the monitoring begins. Cal Trans says it will keep a close eye on the hillside to make sure it holds.

"That's all we can do is manage it, and we never know where it's going to drop out," said Bonilla.

Cambria is not the only local city hit hard by the Highway 1 closures. Some hotel owners in San Simeon say they have seen business drop 30 percent during the past couple of months.

Cal Trans says there were two accidents on the job but the details are not known. The repairs and cleanup on Highway 1 cost the state $5 million.

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