Highway 1 Update, 1/27/23

Date:Friday, January 27, 2023, at 5:15 p.m.
District:05 – Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties
Contact:Kevin Drabinski or Alexa Bertola
Phone:(805) 549-3138 or (805) 549-3237





MONTEREY / SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTIES – Caltrans and contracted crews continue to repair damages to Highway 1 which have resulted in a closure of the roadway from just south of Ragged Point in San Luis Obispo County to Lime Creek in Monterey County.

Polar Star

A major slide took place at Polar Star, one mile south of Ragged Point in San Luis Obispo County on Jan. 4, 2023. Crews have continued make good progress working from the top of this slide and have addressed major drainage control issues. Crews are removing roughly 2,000 cubic yards of material every day.

The estimated time for the reopening of Highway 1 through Polar Star is three weeks, weather permitting.

SLO / Monterey County Line

Repairs continue at two locations near the county line. At the first, just south of the county line in San Luis Obispo County, crews with excavators continue to remove slide material from the roadway. At the second, at PM 0.8 in Monterey County, crews are addressing the failure of an embankment. Once the roadway is open for travel at Polar Star, access through PM 0.8 will be available to the public but will be subject to one-way reversing traffic control with the installation of a temporary signal.

Mill Creek Slide

After a major slide at Mill Creek at PM 18 on Jan. 15, 2023, crews initially cleared a pathway in the highway to permit staff and heavy equipment to get in position to make repairs. The slope of the slide at Mill Creek is incredibly steep and a specialized spider excavator was brought in to work the slide from the top down. A second spider excavator began work there today. Other heavy equipment will join the effort as slope conditions permit. Work over the next weeks will bring debris down on to the roadway removing the opportunity for travel through the slide area. 

The estimated time for the reopening of Highway 1 through Mill Creek is three weeks.

Paul’s Slide

Activity at Paul’s Slide at PM 22, accelerated with recent rains and major activity took place there on Jan. 14, 2023. With the slide having pushed segments of the concrete barriers of the catchment all the way across the road, contracted crews are getting by driving on part of the southbound lane and the shoulder, and then only with the help of spotters.

Unfortunately, many large-scale landslides do not release until a few months after a storm has passed, so continued monitoring at Paul’s is warranted. At present, it is not possible to remove debris material from the catchment area or the toe of the slide as it is providing a resisting force against the driving force of the slide from above. 

Crews flew unmanned aircraft over the slide area to gather data to be used in selecting strategies for designing possible engineering solutions. Initial reports indicate that the slide activity has been substantial and will likely require a major removal of material from the slope which could take several months.

The estimated time for the reopening of Highway 1 through Paul’s Slide is unknown at this time. Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

Highway 1 From North of Paul’s Slide to Lime Creek

Crews are working at a location known as Morning Glory at PM 23.5 where one lane of the highway is settling dramatically. Crews continue to patch the roadway using cold mix asphalt. Crews also continue to remove slide material at PM 25 which has covered the northbound lane. Additionally, crews are at work to replace a guardrail at PM 30.6 where the roadway and embankment has been undermined by storm erosion.

Note: It is currently estimated that Highway 1 will reopen between the north gate at Paul’s Slide at PM 22 and the current closure at Lime Creek at PM 32 on Friday, Feb. 3. Signs at southbound Highway 1 at Lime Creek will alert travelers that the road is closed except for travel by locals.

The closure of Highway 1 from the southern approach in San Luis Obispo County continues to be set at the elephant seal vista area, four miles north of San Simeon. That location was selected as it provides an opportunity for large vehicles to turn around, an opportunity that is largely unavailable north of that location.

Road information and updates can also be found on Caltrans District 5 Social Media platforms: Twitter at: @CaltransD5, Facebook at: Caltrans Central Coast (District 5) and Instagram at: Caltrans_D5.

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