Cal Trans update on Rat Creek, 2/12/21

Date:Friday, February 12, 2021 at 6:00 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 – Clean up and road repairs continue on large stretches of Highway 1 on the Big Sur coast as assessment continues at Rat Creek where a 150-foot section of road washed out on January 28, 2021.

Work continues unplugging numerous culverts both north and south of Rat Creek which were overwhelmed by debris flow from the recent rainstorm. Significantly, all the culverts have been located and their inlets exposed. Additional debris removal from the inlet areas and removal of mud and debris from inside the pipes continues.  

Caltrans maintenance forces continue work in the open sections of the highway clearing ditches and debris. Crews continue to work in support of emergency contractors inside the closed sections of highway with guardrail repairs and restoring drainage facilities. Crews will continue to work extended shifts through the holiday weekend.

Southern Closure Scheduled to Move North

The closure of Highway 1 south of Rat Creek is currently in place just north of Pacific Valley at PM 16. Given current progress on debris removal and road repairs, it is anticipated that this southern closure will move north on Monday Feb. 22, and relocate to the Big Creek Vista Point at PM 27.3 where a turnaround is being constructed.

Northern Closure in Place

A turnaround has been put into service two miles north of Rat Creek, just north of the Lime Creek Bridge at PM 32.1. This turnaround will serve as the landmark limit for public travel south on Highway 1 while repairs are being made at Rat Creek.

In upcoming weeks, the turnaround will be improved with permanent surfacing and enhanced striping. Work to restore impacted drainage systems on Highway 1 north of Lime Creek will continue using standard traffic control as necessary.

Assessment Continues at Rat Creek

Crews continue working at Rat Creek seven days a week as part of the ongoing assessment phase. Geotechnical and engineering crews continue to gather data and inspect areas in proximity of the washout and the surrounding canyon. To date, no design alternative has been selected. Given the complexity of the repair there is at present no timeline for when this decision will be made.

Excavators have mobilized on site to remove woody debris and mud from the canyon. Such work is required no matter the design alternative selected.

Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when 

driving through highway work zones.

Excavators Clearing Debris and Mud at Rat Creek 02.11.21


Kevin Drabinski

Public Information Officer

Caltrans District 5

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