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Caltrans formulates Hwy 1 safety plan ahead of winter storm season

Posted at 4:43 PM, Nov 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-02 01:42:59-04

This winter will be the first time a new section of Highway 1 along the Big Sur coastline north of Ragged Point could be tested by significant rainfall, and Caltrans has a plan to keep motorists safe.

The 1/4-mile section of highway reopened in July after a $54 million project to rebuild the roadway. It had been wiped out by a massive landslide, known as the Mud Creek Slide, in May 2017. Caltrans says it will take approximately two winters for the new slopes along the roadway to stabilize.

A little farther north near Limekiln State Park, an area known as Paul’s Slide also suffered major storm damage in 2017, causing its closure for several months. While it’s open now, Caltrans says that slide also remains active.

In anticipation of winter storm season, Caltrans has created a 48/24-hour storm plan.

When a significant storm is forecast, Caltrans will send its Highway 1 crew a 48-hour notice to start preparing for a possible road closure. Twenty-four hours before a storm is forecast to hit, Caltrans will send out a traffic advisory either confirming or canceling the closure.

Caltrans says Paul’s Slide and Mud Creek will be assessed separately and that one could be closed while the other remains open, or both could be closed at the same time.

Gates are currently being installed at both slides and Caltrans says once closed due to a storm, nobody will be allowed through until the area has been inspected, cleaned up and determined to be safe. Engineers, maintenance and construction crews will reportedly be ready to go to work the morning after a big storm passes through.

Highway 1 at Mud Creek in Big Sur reopened on July 18, 2018. (KSBY photo)