Building the Rock Shed

After I republished a “memory” on FB and had numerous questions re the Rain Rocks Rock Shed, I realized there are a lot of people who don’t know how it got here, nor why. Here are a few of the photos I took during the building of the rock shed as I drove through it or around it. I also have photos of the land bridge they constructed at the same time to allow Pitkin’s Curve to slide under the bridge. I will create another slide show of that Pitkin’s Curve bridge. Be kind, the quality of my “videos” and you tube uploads can use improvement. I am still learning how to do this stuff.

Harry Harris, I and one or two others, were on the design committee that Caltrans set up for this project. We agreed on the general design of making it look natural, like rock, and being open on the ocean side so that people would be able to see the ocean. However, we had suggested a sloped roof so that the rocks that rained down from above did not collect one he roof top. That was not implemented. I still think it turned out beautiful. The original paint of the shed was rather garish and not natural looking and had to be redone. Now, I think they nailed it.

8 thoughts on “Building the Rock Shed

  1. Indeed. It was an innovative solution for highway one and experiences since prove its’ success.

    Reminds a person of the original hwy one construction tunnels and the many that are utilized in the Swiss Alps.

  2. Thanks for the video on the Rain Rocks Rock Shed. We drive through it often, both directions, and think it is beautiful and stunning. Your video and music was too. Cheers, Greg & Di

  3. Really enjoyed the video. The design was especially beautiful for a public work. Glad you had a hand in the design – it shows! Also enjoyed the Fanfare you used for music – a longtime favorite. Thank you for posting!

  4. Amtrak has numerous avalanche shelters protecting the Coast Starlight tracks between Klamath Falls and Eugene, OR. I’ve not seen them in action, but they are reassuring.

  5. I have nothing but sympathy for the geologists, engineering geologists, and geotechnical engineers–I don’t know how they can remain civil and keep a full head of hair when asked to accomplish the impossible. Nobody can say they haven’t tried. Talk about being between the devil and a hard (but crumbly rock) place! I’ve seen worse places for road-building in Asia Minor, but not in the USA. The current Google Map view shows quite a collection of small rocks on the “roof” of the shed which doesn’t shed them (and I wonder how they get them off uninjured and alive?), and can’t help but wonder why they didn’t build the shed to shed rocks as you suggested. Must be a good reason.

  6. Seeing the plans as they were drawn, and then updated by the engineers, was fascinating.
    The big cores drilled out from the base and sides of the work zone revealed highly heterogeneous rock formation, even more so than normally expected from the notably inconsistent Franciscan Formation strata.
    Beyond the geology, the engineering itself is fantastic. The entire structure – rain shed, road bed, bridge piers – all rely on cantilevering. Huge ‘dead-men’ I-beams hammered horizontally/subhorizontally into the rock are critical to the resilience of everything above it.
    Also noteworthy that given the overall weakness of the lithology – in parts known as Melange, basically clay with rock chunks, it is possible that this too will fail sooner than anticipated if there is large catastrophic event (earthquake/tsunami). The hydrology is dynamic and increase in subterranean water pressure can loosen up the formation if fluid builds up under impermeable layers, fortunately this is being monitored (be prepared for continuous maintenance). What makes Big Sur will also take Big Sur.

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