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California’s picturesque Highway 1 to Big Sur is now open for continuous travel as repairs progress on the slide

A section of Highway 1 re-opened (California Department of Transportation)

A part of California’s scenic Highway 1 that leads to the famous Big Sur coast reopened for continuous traffic on Friday, following efforts to stabilize a rockslide caused by a storm. The slide had dropped a section of one lane into the ocean, affecting tourism.

Although the gap hasn’t been fully closed, steel and concrete were placed on the cliff, and a temporary signal system now allows alternating north-south traffic on the undamaged lane, as reported by the California Department of Transportation. The reopening occurred eight days earlier than expected, just in time for summer travel.

“Highway 1 is a gem of California’s road network, and our teams have been working tirelessly for the past month and a half to ensure Californians have unrestricted access to this iconic area of our state,” stated Caltrans Director Tony Tavares.

Big Sur spans 90 miles (145 kilometers) along California’s central coast, characterized by misty, forested mountains that rise from the ocean. Much of the highway runs along high cliffs, offering dramatic views.

A self-driving vehicle (Via Keith Jenner/Shutterstock)

Highway 1 is a popular route for visitors traveling between Los Angeles and San Francisco, but access to Big Sur from the south has been periodically blocked due to previous landslides requiring extensive repairs. This has made the northern approach a critical lifeline for the area.

Following heavy rains, a rockslide occurred south of Monterey on March 30, causing approximately 6 feet (nearly 2 meters) of the southbound lane and a supporting retaining wall to collapse about 170 feet (52 meters) into the ocean below.

Caltrans confirmed that the remaining lane was usable, but initially, traffic was restricted to twice-daily convoys to and from Big Sur. Initially, only residents and essential workers were allowed to join these convoys. Each time, a crane had to be moved to accommodate the convoys, explained Kevin Drabinski, a Caltrans spokesperson.

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