Highway One to open at Noon on Friday, 4/23

Date:Monday, April 19, 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 that Highway 1 at Rat Creek in Monterey County will now completely reopen this Friday April 23 at noon. Final roadway paving has advanced at a pace that will allow for this reopening which is one week earlier than previously announced. A full closure has been in place following the January 28 postfire debris flow that washed out 150 feet of the roadway.

Strict road closures currently in place two miles north and three miles south of Rat Creek on Highway 1 will remain in effect until noon that day.

The construction phases for this emergency project have been ordered in such a way as to allow for the rapid reopening of the road even as remaining construction tasks are being completed.

Additional construction activities which will be accomplished over the next few months include installation of permanent guardrail (K-rail now in place), construction of headwalls at the culvert inlets, final grading features, and placement of erosion control measures on both sides of the roadway.

One component yet to be started is a tunneling operation to install a 10 ft. diameter, one-inch thick steel pipe culvert which will pass from the canyon, through the fill below the roadway, and outlet to the ocean. This key piece of infrastructure will substantially improve water flow capacity during future storm events. It will be augmented by a 5 ft. diameter culvert and two 24 in. culverts which have already been installed closer to the grade of the highway. The redundancy of the drainage infrastructure is designed to make the highway more resilient to extreme weather conditions which will allow for safe travel.

Crews have worked on site since immediately after the January 28 washout, seven days a week during daylight hours, and their consistent efforts have made it possible to reopen Highway 1 at Rat Creek in only 86 days. In addition, favorable weather, which has dominated the area since the road washed out, has also been a contributing factor in the rapid completion of the construction activities to this point.

Approximately 70,000 cubic yards of debris material was removed from the canyon while a repair design strategy was being evaluated. Once an enhanced fill strategy was identified in late February, 45,000 cubic yards of fill dirt, capable of being compacted to support the roadway above, was introduced into the canyon. 

As crews complete the remaining construction work over the next few months, intermittent traffic control at this location may cause delays for motorists of up to 10 minutes. Message and directional signs will be in place to alert motorists when one way reversing traffic control is required.

Notwithstanding this intermittent traffic control, Highway 1 at Rat Creek will fully reopen on Friday April 23 at noon; welcome news indeed for residents, recreationalists, business owners, and those who move goods through this region.

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

Inlets for redundant culverts at east side of the roadway 04.14.21

Base for roadway being installed, view looking south 04.14.21

Two 24 in. culverts outlet over slope on west side of roadway 04.14.21


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