Highway 1 is gone

I just confirmed with Heath Johnstong, Cal Trans Supervisor for the Big Sur Station that indeed the Highway at Rat Creek has given way. I posted this photo from Dave Nelson this morning and it was quite concerning to me then. For those who don’t know where Rat Creek is, there is a mileage marker link to the right, under *Big Sur Road Conditions. Please check there before you ask me.

This is the photo Heath just posted to my FB page:


44 thoughts on “Highway 1 is gone

  1. This looks to be significant enough to cause real problems for South Coast residents for an extended period of time. Please pass along any requests for aid/support as you learn of them. Many of us will jump in to help as we are able.

  2. If anyone needs a place to stay, we have room at our place near Arroyo Grande. It can be Covid safe.
    Kate, how can I get you our contact info if anyone needs it?

  3. Those dang slides are like dominos! For all impacted; and I know so many of y’all are there to help from North to South Coast, you know your strengths, it’s been a rough decade along the coast and I truly know it. The Slur has always been (and still is) an incredibly resourceful community.
    I wish everyone the best from afar…also many thanks to your lifetime of dialogue BSKate.
    – Jesse Pemberton, formerly #9 Pfeiffer Ridge.

  4. I’m so sorry for the folks of the Big Sur community; a very special place I’ve been visiting for 50 years.

  5. Note that this appears to be washed, with the seaside edge of the road losing its supporting edge. That is a very different – preferable, if that can be said – challenge than having the hillside give out wholesale from above. That comment assumes the photo’s capture the scope of the damage.

  6. If you notice the water running into the crack down the middle of the pavement, water is rushing down through there. This photo captured the scope of the damage at the moment it was taken, but I can guarantee that as I write this some 6 hours later the damage is significantly more, and the road will probably be completely gone by dawn.

  7. It sounds like this it not the first time this section of the Highway has eroded. Perhaps it’s time to build a bridge across Rat Creek???…

  8. I would think the arsonist of the Dolan Fire should be held responsible for this

  9. Wow, thanks Kate, for all the info and pictures, I remember working the slides and Hwy I during the 80’s and 90’s for the Sheriff Department, doing evacuations, working with CHP officers Pat Chamberlain and Kenny Wright landing planes in front of the El Sur Ranch. Back then the only way out of the Proper was the Old Coast road, or thru Ft. Hunter Leggett. We moved to Montana, Bitterroot Valley, but miss the coast, and my years doing search and rescue there.

  10. On my devices, Kate’s maps and references, (post mile markers, etc) are all listed below the comments section.

  11. I am so sorry. I love this area. And it’s people. Please blow up Facebook if there’s anything we can do. Prayers

  12. I viewed drone footage earlier, and the failure area appears to be a former drainage/ephemeral creek. Lots of wood debris piled up on the upslope side of the road. I’d be curious to find out if there was a culvert there that became plugged. Water and debris would dam up until the forces became too high…

  13. Esalen dodged a bullet once again. In the early 80s I tried to walk over the massive earth slide to Esalen but
    was prevented by police.

  14. A long time ago during a particularly bad winter and after an epic storm, the hot water changed course and came up in a different place. Michael Murphy told me the story a long time ago. Anyone know the details?

  15. Based on drone footage seen later in the day, it looks like it will need a bridge or some other kind of serious engineering to fix the gap in the road now.

    There just seems to be no hillside left. 😢

  16. In situations like this, Cal Trans will often build a viaduct, or probably a land bridge in this instance. There are many along the road that general tourists don’t even notice. We locals do, as we most vividly remember when and where the slip-outs occurred. There are also actual land bridges like we have at Pfeiffer Canyon.

  17. Okay Cal Trans either work your magic or hire Kiewit to get this job done ASAP, people’s livelihood depend on this road 🙏

  18. Andrea; No, the slide is about 10-12 miles north of Lucia since Esalen is north of the town.
    I see there’s a massive gate across that wonderful Esalen back entrance which was used by us poor folk
    for many a year. Henry Miller who used to use the hot spring pre Esalen would be pissed.

  19. Yes, beware… behind that gate are ‘droids toting AK’s and extremely carnivorous rottweilers who can’t be fed from the Esalen gardens.

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