Distance between closures on Highway 1 to shorten

Date:Friday, February 5, 2021 at 6 pm
District:05 – Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties
Contact:Kevin Drabinski or Jim Shivers
Phone:(805) 549-3138 or (805) 549-3237



MONTEREY COUNTY – Due to steady progress by crews on both sides of Rat Creek to clear plugged culverts, remove standing water and debris, clear rockfall, and repair roads, the northern and southern limits of the closure on Highway 1 on the Big Sur coast are scheduled to change.

As of 6 pm today, the northern end of the Highway 1 closure on the Big Sur coast will move south from Post Mile 34.1 to PM 32.6 just south of Esalen Institute. This will permit full access to the last businesses on the coast before reaching Rat Creek.

Crews will be working throughout the weekend behind this new closure limit to fortify a turnaround point at Lime Creek at PM 32.1 which is expected to be in operation by early next week. Located one mile above Rat Creek, the Lime Creek turnaround is planned to be the landmark limit for public travel south on Highway 1 while repairs are being made at Rat Creek.

The southern closure on Highway 1 will be moved north at 6 pm next Monday Feb. 8, from its current location at Willow Creek Rd. at PM 11.1 to PM 16.0 just north of Pacific Valley. In approximately two weeks this southern closure is expected to move north up the coast again to the Big Creek Vista Point at PM 27.3 where a turnaround is being constructed.

There is still much repair work to be done on Highway 1 between Rat Creek and Big Creek Vista Point. This stretch of road will continue to be a high priority for crews and contractors. This section of road contains multiple locations of plugged culverts which were overwhelmed by debris flows. Rockfall still needs to be cleared behind the netting at Cow Cliffs, and stabilization and repair of sections of roadway must be accomplished before this section can be opened to the public.

Intensive assessment continues at the Rat Creek site. Surveys by land and air have provided necessary data to describe the topographical conditions now in place after the immense debris flow. Geotechnical and environmental studies also continue. Crews have also begun to edge out into the debris flow basin itself to start to remove woody debris.

Crews are working at the site seven days a week. There is no current estimate of a timeline for when this assessment phase will be completed. Ongoing efforts to continue unplugging culverts and removing debris within the newly reopened segments of Highway 1 will continue with flagging operations. Travelers are advised to use caution and may find short delays.

Big Sur Roadway Damages Coordinator Meeting Summary

From the Office of Representative Jimmy Panetta, Katie Moon, assistant:

“2/2/21 Big Sur Roadway Damages Coordinator Meeting: Summary
Congressman Jimmy Panetta, Senator John Laird, Assemblymember Robert Rivas, and Supervisor Mary Adams’ staff met with federal, state, county, and local agencies to discuss the status of storm damage, assessment, and reconstruction of Highway 1 at Rat Creek, Nacimiento- Fergusson Road, and adjacent roadways. Monterey County, US Forest Service, and Fort Hunter- Liggett are working on road clearing and repair on County and Federal roadways including Nacimiento-Fergusson and adjacent roads. Monterey County is doing a damage assessment with an expectation to have more detailed information next week. Caltrans is continuing assessments of Highway 1 and coordinating residential access to their homes in collaboration with CHP and law enforcement agencies to ensure public safety. The legislative offices and agencies are actively working on making sure that Big Sur residents have ongoing information about alternate access routes and supporting residents by coordinating with the appropriate entities to ensure the continuation of essential services like mail delivery and trash pickup.

[Ed. Note: Southside roll outs for trash will be here as soon as payment is arranged for SLO Rollouts. WM is generating the purchase order as I type, so it won’t be long. Many people worked to make this happen. Northside trash will be handled by WM as always.]

We are in the very early stages of assessment and repair, however the reopening of these critical roadways is a priority at all levels of government and we as legislative offices will continue to work with and support agencies to safely restore access to the Big Sur coast.
Meeting Participants: Office of Congressman Panetta, Office of Senator Laird, Office of Assemblymember Rivas, Office of Supervisor Adams, Caltrans, Fort Hunter Liggett, US Forest Service, Monterey County Public Works, Monterey County Sheriff, CHP, Big Sur Fire