Published: Thu, May 25, 2017
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

State highway damage from winter storms tops $1B

A massive landslide buried a section of California's iconic Highway 1 in Big Sur, according to authorities.

Last weekend's massive landslide at Mud Creek along Highway 1 in Monterey County, the first dramatic photos of which appeared on Tuesday, is being called the largest slide in recorded state history, with a spokeswoman for Caltrans referring to it as "one of a kind".

More than a million tons of material slid down a slope near Mud Creek, covering about one-quarter mile of the highway. "We haven't even been able to get in and assess the damage and come up with a plan". "It should be easy if the roadway is still there, not easy but not as complicated as in the roadway is missing, which we think might be the case", Caltrans spokesperson Susana Cruz said.

While having no specific boundaries, Big Sur includes the 76 miles (122 kilometers) segment of California State Route 1 from the Carmel River south to San Carpóforo Creek near San Simeon and the entire Santa Lucia Mountain range between the rivers.

A portion of the Pacific Coast Highway, considered by some to be one of the most scenic drives in the United States, was buried by a massive landslide, the California Department of Transportation said. Road remains closed but partial coastal access via Naci-Fergusson Rd. Engineers warn that we may see more before the seasonal danger is over.

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Road-trippers and Californians have already been facing detours along the Pacific Coast Highway, after intense winter rains caused the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Big Sur to crack.

On the other hand, he acknowledges his theory may be wishful thinking.

The highway already was closed at that spot - nearly continuously since January - and at a few other points along the dozens of miles of coast because of landslides caused by unusually heavy winter and spring rains. The bridge is not expected to reopen until late September, Jones said.

Kurt Mayer, who owns Big Sur Tap House, was also taking news of the slide in stride.

"We're all going to make it, I'm pretty sure", he said.

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