Highway 1 to Open 4/30, ahead of schedule

Date:Thursday, April 8, 2021 
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 – Caltrans announced today it will reopen Highway 1 at Rat Creek in Monterey County by April 30 – nearly two months ahead of its target date. A full closure has been in place following the January 28 mudslide that washed out 150 feet of the roadway.

Caltrans estimated a reopening in early summer when it began major emergency repairs March 1 and has been able to accelerate that timeline with favorable weather conditions. Crews can complete remaining construction work after the road reopens.

“Reopening Highway 1 at Rat Creek just three months after a washout of this magnitude is great news for residents, recreationalists, business owners, and those who move goods through this region,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “Caltrans has been focused on the emergency work needed to increase the resiliency of this highway section to extreme weather, and the fixes made will allow for safe travel.”

Caltrans District 5 Director Tim Gubbins added, “Our crews have worked to create a safe road in challenging conditions, and we are excited to reopen this lifeline earlier than expected.”

After Caltrans identified the enhanced fill design repair strategy in late February, crews worked seven days a week during daylight hours to fill the canyon with compacted dirt to the road level. Caltrans will establish the base of a new road during the next two weeks, to be followed by paving and striping. 

Caltrans will continue construction work that will require intermittent traffic control at Rat Creek following the reopening as crews will install a new, redundant drainage system. The 10-foot diameter culvert will improve water flow during storms and make the roadway more resilient to extreme weather activity. Caltrans will also work on landscaping and installing permanent guardrails throughout the early summer.

Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when 

driving through highway work zones.

For traffic updates on other state highways in Monterey County, travelers may contact Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805-549-3318 or can visit the District 5 website at: https://dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-5

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Washout at Highway 1 on Jan. 29, 2021.

Both aerial views show the progress of fill construction looking up the Canyon at Rat Creek from early March (Left) and Mar. 26, 2021.


Kevin Drabinski

Public Information Officer

Caltrans District 5

50 Higuera St.

San Luis Obispo CA 93401

Office: 805.549.3138

Cell: 805.748.1858

TTY 711

Dispersed Camping Etiquette

Andrew Madsen, the PIO for the LPNF sent me a link to an excellent article which helps to convey the dilemma we face with managing our public lands. It is not pretty.

“After witnessing some of the damage inflicted on public lands — our shared national resource — by campers last year who were either ignorant of their responsibilities or purposely misbehaving, I’m wary that a continued influx of visitors will result in even more damage, and, frankly, the reduction of camping opportunity for those of us who have enjoyed the activity long before COVID-19 inspired a host of new participants to buy that first tent or that first travel trailer. 

“To be frank, if what I saw last summer is going to repeat itself this summer, our federal land-management agencies will be faced with some tough decisions, particularly when it comes to dispersed camping on public lands. 

Here in the West, on our vast swaths of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management acreage, dispersed camping is allowed, and in most cases, it’s free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Some camping locations are just wide spots in the road, and others are located off of spur roads and trails leading into more remote areas. For those of us who have been camping on public lands for years, there are unwritten rules to ensuring that we’ll be able to continue visiting these special places for years to come. And the rules don’t just have to do with how we treat the land, but also how we treat our fellow campers and others who use public land for recreation.

I think it’s time the unwritten rules earn some ink, and that advocates for public lands recreation speak up and earnestly help police their pastimes for fear of having them curtailed. And for those new to dispersed camping, consider the following before you hitch up the new RV and head for the hills:”

One can read the rest of this article and the unwritten rules here:


The post on Facebook about this article on the LPNF page had this comment: “The grossest place we ever saw was on the drive up to Prewitt Ridge. Ive never seen more trash, human waste and toilet paper than what i saw up there. Sad because its such a cool place and people just have to ruin it 😞 i dont even want to know what its been like up there since covid hit.” For those of you not familiar with it, Prewitt is the next ridge north from me and I can see and hear the all night amplified music parties for which it became known. She is right, it was not pretty and many of the very best dispersed camping spots in Big Sur were destroyed last summer. Some healing has gone on with the land since the roads were closed after the Dolan Fire, but it will take years to recover from just this one past summer.