Cal-Trans Road Update

3:15 pm – Sorry to be posting so many times today, but this is important enough to rate its own post. Per a phone conversation I just had with Colin Jones of Cal-Trans, people should expect the road to be closed for at least a month. Current plans are to try to find a way to open it up first to a single lane, but again, that won’t happen for a month or more. If you scroll down to the second post below this one, there are many photos which explain why that is. What gave way is the cribbing, and that is the original cribbing from the original convict construction in the 30’s. This particular spot has been trying to let go for some time – it has nothing to do with the tsunami, recent storms (although they could have contributed), or many of the other rumors I have heard.

Also, Colin states this current closure includes both bicycles and pedestrians. It is simply closed to all. First, per all reports I have heard, the road is still moving, the NB land is cracked and unsafe. Second, Colin reminds us that if CT and/or CHP have to deal with any traffic of any sort, it will simply delay the opening even more. We, as the people most concerned about getting this open, should support every effort to do so as quickly as possible. Let’s let them work.

Once CT gets one lane open, possibly by digging into the hillside, then they will work on a permanent solution to the problem. Colin suspects there will be almost daily updates for a while, and I have put him in contact with the Monterey County Communications Center, so all of this information can be centralized for us.

Also, as many of my north coast neighbors will be using N-F Rd and Ft. Hunter-Liggett for the next month, let me remind you of some things, and inform you of others. Last year, the fort moved back the front, Jolon gate, and removed the guard from the back, Los Padres gate. Also, as traffic increases, traffic control will as well, and the post law enforcement officers have always been a bear about enforcing the speed limit and other traffic laws, such as cell phones. The bridge is in good shape, and should be used instead of the river crossing. Having gotten a speeding ticket once, a long long time ago, I can tell you it is literally a federal offense, and if you want to fight it, you might end up in Florida. I tried, as I was NOT speeding. The ticket never went on my record anywhere outside the fort, but my right to drive on the fort was suspended for one year.

At least one reader and one caller have asked for directions on taking the Nacimiento-Fergusson route. Anne Ashley sent me the google maps instructions, which I reviewed and they appear accurate. It is:

Going South from Big Sur Valley on Highway One:

Turn left at Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd
About 44 mins
go 24.2 mi
total 27.9 mi

Turn right to stay on Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd (Ed. this is a kinda lopsided “Y” and you are turning onto the right arm of the y.)
About 2 mins
go 0.8 mi
total 28.7 mi

Turn right at Mission Rd
About 6 mins
go 2.9 mi
total 31.6 mi

Slight left to stay on Mission Rd
go 0.3 mi
total 31.9 mi

Continue onto Co Rd G14/Jolon Rd (as Suzi Perry notes below, turn left here for King City, and right for Paso Robles and points south. Both directions will put you onto 101)
About 31 mins
go 17.6 mi
total 49.5 mi

Turn right to merge onto US-101 S
About 1 min
go 0.7 mi
total 50.1 mi

Take the exit toward King City/Broadway
go 0.2 mi
total 50.4 mi

Merge onto Broadway St
go 0.2 mi
total 50.6 mi

Turn right at Broadway St/Co Rd G13
About 2 mins
go 0.9 mi
total 51.4 mi

Turn right at S 3rd St (Now, I’m not sure if this is specific to the Safeway, which is what it sounds like, but once you to to this point, you are good to go.)
go 95 ft
total 51.4 mi

Personally, I would prefer Morro Bay as a town trip.

So, remember, we are all guests and should behave as we would like our guests to behave.

Communication during emergencies

5:30 pm – this just received from Monterey County Communications Center:

“This is what we have so far, I was not able to confirm the mail information, our Office of Emergency Services will do that tomorrow, as well as look into the UPS and gas supply question.
I hope what we have gotten is helpful. We will update tomorrow. I am working on getting a webmaster on standby next week when the weather is bad, in case things break late.”

I just checked out this site, and it looks extremely helpful. Looks as if this will be updated during the day, and possibly after hours as is necessary. Maia Carroll deserves the credit for getting this up and running so quickly. If you need or would like additional information, post below, as she is watching this post. Thank you all for pulling together and making sure that accuracy, openness, and sharing are a big part of who we are as a community! Kudos, everyone!

Monterey County Communications Center is busy setting up a dedicated page in order to keep people informed of this fluid situation. They have asked about what information would be of assistance, and this is what I have written:

“What we need to watch is the two remaining avenues out. N-F Rd. which is critical to residents has already closed a number of times this winter. Keeping it open and keeping informed on an HOURLY basis during the coming storms will be crucial. Keeping informed about the coming storms themselves will also be crucial. (Ed. note added later – this road is already county responsibility so information should be easy to obtain.)

There is a new slip out between the county line and Ragged Point that has seen considerable movement lately, and that bears watching, also. Staying up-to-date with that each evening and each morning is also important.

Also, concerns about mail, trash, business deliveries, schools, whether a “parking area” of sorts can be safely established near the slip out. UPS deliveries is also a big concern.

Coordinating information about all these services could be invaluable.”

If there are other concerns you have that you would like to see the County address, please leave a comment below that the County can then consider. Thank you.

Highway One closure indefinite

7:30 pm – and so, I bid you goodnight on this eventful St. Paddy’s Day with this photo I just took. This is what I see when I am seated in my chair, in front of my computer, iPhone at hand, reporting as I do. Now you know my secret.

Sunset through the back door, 3/17/11

6:00 pm – The SLO Tribune has put together a photo gallery of three of these photos and a couple from Cal-Trans. It may be viewed here:

SLO Tribune

2:15 pm – and here is a very different angle taken by Justus Newman yesterday, only an hour or so after the slip out. Thanks to Justus and to Rob Weller, who sent it my way!

by Justus Newman, 3/16/11

2:00 pm – here is a photo taken by Colin Maxwell from the north end today:

Rocky Creek Closure by Colin Maxwell

In recognition of the problems created for our tourism industry, I have changed the title of this post, but the reality is we don’t know when this closure will be sufficiently stable to allow even one lane open for the public – it could be one week, it could be one month. However, there have been several years in recent memory where the road was closed for several months – Hurricane Point and Carmel Bridge come to mind – and that is a possibility in this case, also.

Here are a couple great shots from our resident CHP Officer, Ben Grasmuck. What wonderful shots, Ben. As he says regarding travel in the foreseeable future, “Everything is up in the air, figuratively and literally.” He also reports that the NB lane has cracks in it, and is not safe, either. What a ride, huh?

Rocky Creek Slip out by CHP Officer Ben Grasmuck

Rocky Creek slip out by CHP Officer Ben Grasmuck

1:45 am – I consulted with my reliable road source, and he says this will take a while to fix. It appears that the cribbing gave way, based on what he saw in the third photo below. He also suspects that the only way to fix this will be with tie-backs, as is being done at Dani Creek, near Lucia. I took photos of that just a few days ago and planned to post them, so will do that later so that all of you have an idea what might happen. In the meantime, I want to upload some photos sent by our resident CHP officer, Ben. Thanks, Ben!

10:30 am – this is Cal-Trans official press release sent out just a few minutes ago:

• Due to severe roadway damage to the southbound lane, Hwy. 1 is closed indefinitely north of Big Sur and south of Carmel at Rocky Point (PM 60.05). Crews are assessing the roadway to determine a repair strategy. All businesses along the coast Hwy. 1 remain open. Alternate routes include Highways 101, 68 and 46. An update will be provided as more information becomes available and/or conditions change.

Here is a photo of the slide taken by Matthew Kahlar and sent to friends of mine:

9:00 am – I spoke with a very harried Martin at the post office this morning who informed me that a decision has not been made about the mail, and that he would not be able to discuss it in any event. I then called Frank, the Postmaster in Monterey who informed me that frantic discussions were going on, but the logistics are so complicated a decision may not be made today. Contracts, vehicles, routes, and coordination with San Jose all have to be resolved before a decision would be made. In the past, it has come over N-F Rd. once a week, but this time they are discussing Cambria Post Office, as well as one to the East. I will do what I can to stay on top of it.

8:30 am – lots going on. Businesses trying to make arrangements for deliveries expected today, residents making plans for stocking up, staying with friends in town, or whatever needs to be done.

This is not something new. Hurricane Point closed for 4 months, shutting us off to the North. And remember 1983? The big slide cut the coast in half for over a year. We will Sur-vive – we always do.
Mail may only come once a week, but it will come. Tourists will come from the South and love the peace and quiet they find here. Locals will skate down the middle of the road (grins) and enjoy.

The forecasters are predicting heavy rain on Friday and Sunday, and this could impact the two remaining paths out of Big Sur, although both Cal-Trans and County Rds. will be working hard to get Highway One to the south open, and Nacimiento-Fergusson to the east open.

Here are some news photos my son sent me. Not sure which agency, but when I find out, I will give credit.

Also, my friend at NOAA has sent me some point and click links for weather forecasts for the specific area around the Rocky Creek slip-out which I will post here, as well as add to the link section to the right.

7-day forecast for 9 miles north of Big Sur

Very cool detailed forecast graphs

My personal favorite forecast page

5:00 am -If you saw the photos of this slip out, you already know this will not be an easy repair. Current information is that the highway will be closed for months, making trash pick up, mail, school, and town runs quite challenging. Alternatives are being pursued as stated by Rain, from the State Park, in her comment on the post below. Thanks, Rain!

I will update at a more reasonable time this morning.