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Highway 1 closed briefly due to flooding in Big Sur

ragged point road closure.JPG
Posted at 4:59 PM, Sep 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-19 21:15:07-04

While rain is much needed in California, it can cause problems in areas prone to rockslides.

Caltrans workers found the rain Sunday night had caused some rock to fall along Highway 1 as well as debris and flooding.

A portion of the highway from Point Lobos in Monterey County to Ragged Point was closed Sunday night.

"...and in the overnight hours, California Highway Patrol came upon it and made the call to close the roadway," said Kevin Drabinski, Public Information Officer for Caltrans District 5.

Caltrans does preventative work year-round to ensure any areas at risk for a rock slide are addressed before the rainy season, cutting down on the number of incidents.

"They have to wait until first light until they can get out there, assess the roadway, clear off the rock fall, and they had the roadway open by about 8:30 this morning," said Drabinski.

Unlike other times when mudslides have impacted the highway, Caltrans crews were able to reopen the road fairly quickly.

"We never knew it was closed, no," said Gregg Peterson, visiting from Austin, Texas.

Driving north from Cambria, by the time Peterson reached Ragged Point it had already reopened.

"We weren't really affected because we came from Cambria and went sightseeing going north toward Big Sur," said Peterson.

Others say they only knew it was closed due to the information from navigation apps.

"We checked our app and it said it was closed, but we checked Caltrans and it said it was all open," said Quinn Parker, visiting from Salt Lake City, Utah.

Drabinski says rain can provide ideal conditions for a rockslide.

"...and when it rains it makes the ground heavier and lubricates it so you're going to's been happening for hundreds of thousands of years," said Drabinski.

Though the condition of the road is not particularly concerning, there is always potential for hazards.

"The roadway itself is not of special concern, other than there's that constant possibility that there's going to be rockfall," said Drabinski.

The impacted portion of Highway 1 has fully reopened.