Nightmare at Rio Rd., 4/9/18

And this is the official response from Cal Trans:

”Thank you for your recent inquiry, notifying Caltrans about the traffic issues you experienced at Highway 1 and Rio Road. The construction is part of a climbing lane project that involves widening the east side of Highway 1. This project is led by Monterey County. Late last week, the project team needed to shift traffic to the west side of the highway in order to continue construction on the east side. The county and its construction contractor are working on making adjustments this week that will help alleviate some of the traffic concerns, especially to northbound Hwy. 1 traffic. Looking forward, the project is scheduled for completion in late summer.

For additional information please contact Christina Poe at the County of Monterey at” (Christine Poe 831-755-5025.)

Added later, from another reader: “Sunday traffic hwy 1 @6pm from south end Yankee Pt…traffic going north was visable to Otter Cove and further beyond. Crawed to Rio Rd 1:40 one car at a time. No other cars at other three lights. NORTH BOUND NEEDS HELP!”


Both Saturday and Sunday, I received reports & complaints re the problems with the construction at Rio Rd. People were bascially unable to get to town, if needed. Here are a few of the screen shots they sent me or posted. Also, I forwarded all these photos on to Cal Trans last night. While Cal Trans is not the project manager, only provides oversight,  it is a joint project for MoCo, TAMC, and Cal Trans, Cal Trans indicated they would forward on to the project manager. The first one is from Saturday, and the last two are from Sunday. Let’s keep documenting this. It is supposed to last through August.


18 thoughts on “Nightmare at Rio Rd., 4/9/18

  1. it was exactly the same at 5:30 yesterday,,, backed up from rio rd to just south of Yankee Pt, By then the lights were no longer blinking red but on a rotation letting each lane go (maybe a dozen or more cars. Also awful trying to get out of Safeway and back onto rio rd. More than 30 minutes to rio light with heavy traffic backing up beyond post offfice, around corner, past prims and practically to carmel valley rd

  2. Many comments on Highlands nextdoor. Most relevant was info that this is a county of Monterey (NOT CALTRANS) project thru some sort of special permit. Many people are calling Mary Adams office as a place to start. WOuld explain the seeming lack of good planning not to have professionals do it but I have not got first hand knowledge of this. The reports did sound well researched though. Someone with connections should consider checking this out and letting us all know who to call. Thanks

  3. We live in mission fields and my son works at Safeway. He walks to work and at 5:30 am not a problem getting to work. But at 3:00 pm there is no light for him to get home. He literally takes his life in his hands dodging cars. You may ask why not walk under the bridge as I did. Mom have you seen what’s under the bridge. So do I drive to pick him up and spend 45 minutes of our day maybe.

  4. Is there an optimum time to make the commute from the coast back into town? I am thinking Palo Colorado as a starting point. Would real early or perhaps after 7 p.m. make a difference? Couple this mess with tourist driving and it is a genuine nightmare…

  5. It would be nice if they didn’t work on weekends when the masses have descended upon Hwy 1 for a beautiful “drive” (crawl) down the coast.
    That’s right up there with not issuing permits for commercials at Bixby or anywhere else on the coast on a holiday or any weekend.

  6. You could get there, it was just backed up to Point Lobos. The intersection is messed up with the pending construction and making it temporarily a 4 way stop. It requires a lot of patience.

  7. I called the CHP on Friday at rush hour to ask that they have someone directing traffic. 831-796-2160Do not call the Carmel Police Dept. as this is not their responsibility. At least Carmel Unified is off this week.

  8. 40 minutes at 8:00 pm last night to go from Corona Rd. to Rio Rd. Ugh.

  9. I was shocked that this is now set up as a four way stop with no one directing traffic. Thankfully things have not been so bad during the weekdays. No issues this morning. On weekends however if CHP is not present this will continue to worsen as we approach summer. If CHP gets enough calls I’m optimistic they will respond.

    When this project is completed it will definitely help traffic flow in the area but it may be a long crawl to get there . . .

  10. Also – it bears mentioning that yesterday was a fairly light tourist day in Big Sur. If this continues, by May emergency services will have no way in / out of Big Sur on the weekends.

  11. Correct me if I’m wrong, I believe this project is to add an additional northbound lane between Rio Road and Carmel Valley Road? First of all why would this take five months, Second question is why can’t they just do the work at night under lights and remove those ridiculous cement barriers. How could an emergency vehicle possibly navigate through this mess?

  12. Thank you Kate for posting this & communicating with CalTrans All the comments are great, it seems to me that once again that a Regional approach to traffic management does not exist! CalTrans not responsible, Carmel PD disavows any responsibility as usual when hey, Rio Road is actually part of their town! CHP couldn’t really care less, and their response to the public being able to view their complete failure to manage the traffic issues is to REMOVE the issue from the CAAR road conditions app. Sure it’s incovenient but it’s more than that— I feel victimized by incompetent bureaucrats who care only about attracting more people to the area and then allowing us to be TRAPPED on a highway going nowhere!! I hope those tourists who got treated like crap by Monterey County this past weekend, flame the Internet with negative comments and oh yeah, never come back! It’s realky a poor strategy to lure people into a trap, abuse their time and level of safety by stranding them on a highway for hours. With no bathrooms of course! I’m calling Mary Adams office everyday until we have a management plan for this work! Night crews and no cement barricades etc.

  13. I drive into and out of Big Sur from Soledad. Coming to work in Big Sur in the mornings is not that bad at the moment, granted the high school is currently on spring break. But the drive home back to rio rd is terrible. Not only am I already tired from being at work, now I sit in traffic for an hour+ in a manual car. my legs hurt by the time i get home now due to all the shifting/stop-n-go traffic. this is completely horrendous for people who work/commute through that intersection, as we all know the only way in or out without using N-F Rd. Maybe they should ask one of their off duty officers to take turns earning some overtime to deal with traffic? or get a volunteer security guard or something. the one lane traffic through the summer is going to drive me up the freaking trunks along the side of the road. Especially once there are way more tourist trying to come to Big Sur. I’m not looking forward to the traffic starting at Garrapata.

  14. Yes Susan! Please post the contact email and phone number for Mary Adams so that we can flood her office with our concerns. Thank you.

  15. I am assuming the issue with working at night would have to be the proximity to the residential area around Rio Road to the west.

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