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.

16 thoughts on “Highway One closure indefinite

  1. I have some great pics of the slide south of Rocky Creek Bridge but not sure how to get them to you.

  2. I drove south, past that slide on Tuesday night, just 24 hours before it caved. When I passed over it, I was surprised at how rough it was. It looked like it was starting to fold under even Sunday as I went North to Carmel Valley.

    Revolution in the Middle East for Democracy, fighting to defend Democracy in the workplaces of the American Midwest, Earth shattering Earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, Tsunami wiping out a ring of people around the Pacific Ocean and now this!?
    Big Sur was the final safe getaway in case of disaster..

  3. Thanks for the informative post and sharing the photos. I guess my trip from Santa Cruz to summer camp may take a few hours longer this year. I’ll still be there. Best wishes to all who are affected, hold strong.

  4. Help!!! I’m headed to limekiln state park in a little under a month from Los Angeles. If Highway 1 is still closed, what would be a good route? Looking at Google Maps, I see a route that goes by Fort Hunter Liggett (via Co Rd G14 and Nacimiento Fergussun Rd). Would that work?

  5. Yes, that is one alternate route as fully described on the link provided on my very first “sticky” post titled “notices”

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