Published: Thu, May 25, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Massive slide on iconic highway part of $1 billion in damage

Massive slide on iconic highway part of $1 billion in damage

One of the most travelled and picturesque highways in the world will not be accessible in Big Sur after a massive landslide covered the road last Saturday.

The landslide along California's State Route 1 extends about a quarter mile and has the road covered in a 35-40 feet deep layer of dirt.

In total, the recent natural disasters have caused $1 billion in highway damages across the state according to the California Department of Transportation (CDOT).

"This type of thing may become more frequent, but Big Sur has its own unique geology", said Dan Carl, a district director for the California Coastal Commission whose area includes Big Sur.

No damage has been reported, but officials have been limited in their investigation.

Authorities have closed all access to the highway and they don't know when it will be reopened.

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More than 1 million tons of rock and dirt fell Saturday onto the Pacific Coast Highway, considered by some to be one of the most scenic drives in the United States.

In addition, Caltrans closed Highway 1 at Ragged Point, near the county border, months ago because of the landslides at Mud Creek. "We haven't even been able to get in and assess the damage and come up with a plan". "This is a very, very big event. and it's something that we really haven't seen before". Engineers warn that we may see more before the seasonal danger is over.

This winter has been particularly rough for Big Sur, state transportation spokesman Colin Jones said.

Much of the coastal highway remains closed, including a stretch of Highway 1 near the Corda community.

Situated south of Monterey in between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the rugged stretch through Big Sur is immensely popular among tourists. A new bridge is scheduled to open in September.

"I don't think they anticipated anything of this magnitude", Shivers said.

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