Progress made on three Big Sur Highway 1 landslides

BIG SUR – The three landslides on Highway 1 south of the slip-out near Rocky Creek Bridge continue making progress on Caltran’s road to reopening roadway between the Monterey Peninsula and the San Luis Obispo County line later this year.

With another rainy weekend in the books for the area, Caltrans District 5 spokesperson Kevin Drabinski said that no significant movement or changes occurred as a result of the past weekend’s rain event at the Rocky Creek slip-out — post mile 60. Repairs there continue, as do the twice-daily convoys, as Caltrans continues its work toward a Memorial Day opening of one-way, signalized traffic control at that point.

For now, Caltrans crews continue to make progress with repairs at the other three major slides on Highway 1.

For more than a year, Caltrans has been working to repair Paul’s Slide – post mile 22 – which occurred during the 2023 winter season and is the southern-most slide on Highway 1. Due to delays caused by the 2024 winter storms and additional slide locations along the coastal highway, Caltrans now estimates that the roadway will reopen sometime this summer. It had previously been slated to open in late spring. Crews are making cuts in the slope to prepare for the final alignment of Highway 1 there. Survey and design of the final alignment, installation of new drainage systems, and preparation of roadway reconstruction will also begin in the coming weeks.

Daily convoys continue through Paul’s Slide and a midday convoy has been added, says Caltrans. In order to allow for students north of Paul’s Slide to attend a full school day, a new convoy schedule is in effect as of Monday, with convoys at 7:45 a.m., and 1 and 4:15 p.m.

Drabinski noted that as roadway construction and drainage installations accelerate in the coming weeks, it is anticipated that the 1 p.m. convoy may be eliminated so that the final push to reopen the roadway can proceed with minimal stoppages.

Stopping and restarting work, which includes safely moving workers and equipment out of the way, means the loss of about two hours of repair work time.

Two other slides occurred last month north of Paul’s Slide. The Dolan Point Slide – post mile 29.5 – and the Regent’s Slide – post mile 27.8.

The Dolan slide is the northernmost of the three slides. Caltrans reports that due to additional measures being required for rockfall mitigation, Highway 1 at that slide is now estimated to reopen in mid-May. Next week crews will blast large rocks on the slope above Highway 1 which were exposed when debris material was removed. The reopening will follow the installation of a cable net drapery system over the face of the slope above the roadway.

Regent’s Slide repair work is expected to be completed 100 working days after initiated, but a start date has still not been announced. All environmental clearances are nearing approval, according to Caltrans, and with the approach of drier weather conditions, a start date is feasible within the next three weeks. Under these conditions, the reopening of Highway 1 at Regent’s Slide is estimated for early fall.

As the Dolan Point Slide site is ready to open, Drabinski said Caltrans will be scouting for an adequate closure point as work on the Regent’s Slide will continue. A closure point must have enough room to accommodate trucks and motor homes, and a good line of sight so drivers can see the closure well ahead of negotiating a turnaround.

A slip-out is the loss of material that supports the pavement above it, and a slide is when debris comes down a slope over a roadway.

Stabilization work continues on the Rocky Creek slip-out toward its Memorial Day opening of signalized, one-way traffic control that will allow southbound travelers unrestricted access to Big Sur as far as Regent’s Slide. Likewise, from the San Luis Obispo County line, once Highway 1 is open at Paul’s Slide this summer, northbound travelers will be able to go as far as Regent’s Slide until its repair work is completed and it opens in early fall.

Once that occurs and barring any further slides or slip-outs, travelers will be able to traverse Highway 1 relatively unimpeded through the Monterey County segment of the coastal roadway.

Road information and updates can also be found on Caltrans District 5 Social Media platforms: Twitter at: @CaltransD5, Facebook at: Caltrans Central Coast (District 5) and Instagram at: Caltrans_D5.

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