Safety Closures of Highway One before/during storms

Date:         November 5, 2019

District:    District 5 (Central Coast)

Contact: (bilingual) or

Phone:      (805) 549-3138 or (805) 549-3237



MONTEREY COUNTY— Caltrans plans to temporarily close Highway 1 at Mud Creek (PM 8.9) and/or Paul’s Slide (PM 21.6) south of Big Sur when significant rainfall is forecast by the National Weather Service (NWS) as a safety measure for the public.

When significant storms are forecast by the NWS, Caltrans will send a 48-hour traffic advisory to the public in case the roadway needs to close. This will allow time for the local communities and motorists to prepare for the closure, stock up on necessary supplies and make alternate travel plans. At the 24-hour mark, Caltrans will issue a traffic advisory either confirming the full closure or providing new information. These 48 and 24-hour notices apply only to Paul’s Slide and Mud Creek—each closure will be treated separately (two separate closures, one may open but the other may not, depending on the assessment).

Caltrans will have our Geotech, Maintenance and Construction units on call and prepared to inspect/clear roads of debris during daylight hours when the storm ends and it’s safe to be on site. Gates are installed on either side of Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide that will be locked. These gates will not be manned when the highway is closed. No one, including law enforcement, Emergency Services or Caltrans employees, will be allowed access until a proper assessment can be made and any necessary clean-up completed.

The ongoing restoration projects at Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide have re-established a traversable route over both landslides, but continued movement of the newly-formed slopes and landslide features are expected. Closing the highway during significant rainfall is necessary for the safety of travelers and our workers.

“The heavy rainfall in the winter months of 2017 resulted in significant landslide movement at many spots on Highway 1 along the Big Sur Coast,” said Caltrans District 5 Director Tim Gubbins. “We ask for the community’s patience during these closures.  Caltrans will strive to clear the highway and reopen Highway 1 as quickly as possible when it is safe to do so.”

Motorists should consult Caltrans Quick Map at for the latest closure information on Highway 1 and all state highways during the wildfire and mudslide season.

Mud Creek (PM 8.9)

Mud Creek had a major landslide on Saturday, May 20, 2017, involving the movement of over 6 million cubic yards of material. The new alignment was built out on the slide material for the middle portion and on a compacted embankment on the south and north ends. The new highway extends out towards the ocean upwards of 250 feet from the original highway. The roadway is 150 to 260 feet above sea level. Natural slopes remaining from the landslide and engineered slopes above and below the roadway are anticipated to experience significant erosion and movement as the new landmass matures.

Paul’s Slide (PM 21.6)

The highway has been reestablished across the landslide but movement of the slopes above and below the roadway continue to push it toward the ocean. Paul’s Slide has been active since January 2017, stabilization measures including creation of additional catchment and temporary stabilization of the Hermitage Wall have been completed.Caltrans expects to reopen to two lanes at Paul’s Slide in December. The signal equipment will be turned off but left in place to allow a quick reactivation if the slide overwhelms the catchment.                                                                                       –Photos below—

Recent photos of Mud Creek Slide, whole (top) and side (above) views from mid-October 2019.

Photos on left (August ’19) and right (mid-October) show Paul’s Slide before and after completion of the cut, respectively. Right photo courtesy of John Madonna Construction.

The next update will occur when the first 48-hour traffic advisory is issued.