Closure of Highway 1 due to Pajaro Flooding still in place

Date:Tuesday, March 14, 2023
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 / SANTA CRUZ COUNTIES – Highway 1 remains closed from Salinas Road, one mile south the Monterey/Santa Cruz County line, to Hwy. 129 (Riverside Drive) in Watsonville in Santa Cruz County. There is no estimated time for reopening.

Water from the Pájaro River breached a levee 4.7 miles upstream of Highway 1. Flooding from this breach overflowed the highway on Sunday March 12 which led to its closure. Water from this breach continues to be of concern as it surrounds Highway 1 and the bridges at the Pájaro River. 

Highway 1 crosses the Pájaro River by means of two bridges, one in the northbound and one in the southbound direction. As they cross the river, the bridges pass over two levee embankments, one to the south on the Monterey County side, and one on the Santa Cruz County side of the river. The Pájaro River flows between these two levee embankments. 

Water flow from the upstream levee breach has eroded embankment material around the bridge supports exposing foundation piles.

The Pájaro River Bridges are stable. The bridge supports at this location extend into the ground to a depth of over 80 feet.

However, before Highway 1 can reopen, assessments of the bridges will have to be made to determine their load capacity and whether or not any weight restrictions need to be applied as a result of the loss of embankment material around the support structures. Engineers are continuing to monitor the bridges. 

At present there is no estimated time for reopening.

A detour is in place. Travelers on northbound Hwy. 1 may take Hwy. 156 east to the US 101 and travel north before taking Hwy. 129 west back to the coast. The reverse of this travel direction would be the detour for southbound travelers.

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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