Highway Closure Update, 6/4/18

Basically, nothing has changed. Mud Creek opening still anticipated for mid September, Paul’s Slide continues with one light, traffic signal controlled traffic. Here are this week’s photos:

Two photos of Mud Creek (PM 8.9) from Thursday, May 31 and one aerial of Paul’s Slide from yesterday, June 3—courtesy of John Madonna


Highway One Closure Update, 5/14/18

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SPECIAL NOTE: The full, daytime closure at Paul’s today, May 14, 2018 from 7 AM to 5 PM and is required due to equipment blocking the lane to make repairs to the Hermitage Tieback Wall. Paul’s should reopen by 5 PM on the same day, today, Monday, May 14.

HIGHWAY 1 UPDATE – Monday, May 14

State Route 1 in Monterey County remains closed from north of Salmon Creek, just south of the Ranger Station (PM 3) to just south of Gorda (PM 10) due to the Mud Creek slide. State Route 1 south of Salmon Creek is accessible via State Route 1 in San Luis Obispo County near Ragged Point.

REMINDER: Travelers still CANNOT access the entire length of Highway 1 from Carmel to Cambria but local businesses are open on both sides of Mud Creek.

 Mud Creek (PM 8.9)

Mud Creek had a major slide on Saturday, May 20, 2017, losing over 5 million cubic yards of material. Caltrans continues with its plan to realign the existing terrain. The Department has announced a new target of mid-September to get lanes re-opened to traffic. Caltrans will continuously evaluate the opening date as work progresses so we anticipate providing an update in July. It’s expected that even after the highway is re-open, intermittent lane closures and roadwork may continue. The updated current cost is at $54 million.

There is currently no public/local access through the Mud Creek area since this remains an active, emergency construction zone.

This week: Work continues with constructing the north fill and continue the north cut.

Paul’s Slide (PM 21.6)*

Paul’s Slide is still active but the 24/7 traffic signal remains in place and temporary guardrail (k-rail) in the centerline. A full, daytime closure at Paul’s is taking place today, Monday, May 14, 2018 from 7 AM to 5 PM and is required due to equipment blocking the lane to make repairs to the Hermitage Tieback Wall. Paul’s should reopen by 5pm on the same day, today, Monday, May 14.

Mud Creek article

In the San Jose Mercury News is a very detailed and comprehensive report on the state of the slide and the current work on it, with a series of photos taken by Vern Fischer of the Herald.

You can view it here: https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/05/09/big-sur-nearly-a-year-after-massive-mud-creek-slide-project-intensifies/

Here are a couple of the photos showing current cracks:



(Photo by Vern Fischer)

I have highlighted some new cracks. It is impossible to tell if this is of any significance from a photo, but it would appear the project manager is checking them out, and doesn’t seem to be worried about any imminent threat.

Here is the entrance from the north:


(Photo by Vern Fischer) (Note, this appears to be an earlier shot as the containers are in this photo and they have since been removed)

And here is the arial view. The red line marks where the road will probably go (my guess), if it doesn’t already, but it could be dropped down to the lower bench, if needed, it looks like.



Mud Creek Contract and other oddities, 5/5/18

Yesterday, I finally had the time to go through the Mud Creek contract first awarded to Madonna Construction on 1/19/17.  I’ve pulled out a few bits of information, took some screen shots, sent off emails to Cal Trans for comments, and otherwise started research and analysis. There is still much to discover and understand, but given that no one at Cal Trans has thus far responded, I decided to publish what I have today.

The original contract provided for removing slide material, installing rock nets, and restoring facilities to enable reopening the highway. This contract was awarded 1/19/17 and signed 3/17/17. It was for 30 days at a cost of $2,500,000. It is a public works contract specifically excluded from 2 CCR § 547.59. (California Code of Regulations.) It is exempt from public bidding as explained in the State Contracts Manual (SCM) §5.80 (A)(3) which states: “As noted in section 5.05, competitive bidding is required unless there is a legally authorized basis for bid exemption. Key exemption categories are identified below. A. Statutory Exemptions: 3. Emergency contracts. The work or service is for the immediate preservation of the public health, welfare, safety, or protection of State property (PCC §§ 1102, 10340).”

On 4/6/17, the original contract was modified to increase the contract from $2,500,000 to $9,500,000 an increase of 3 and 1/2 times the original amount and added 80 days for completion, for a total of 110 days. After the BIG slide on 5/19/17, The Contract was again modified two months later on 7/18/17 to $12,000,000 and another 60 days was added to the contract for a total of 170 days. Two more modifications, one on 9/20/17 for an additional amount of $32,000,000 and an addition of 150 WORKING days (30 weeks) for a total of 320 days, and another on 9/18/17 of total amount of $56,000,000 (previously awarded, PLUS the requested additional $32,000,000) would then take the contract to the end of April 2018.



By my calculations, the time and the $56,000,000 award ran out on 4/18/18 although the first page reproduced above says “end of April” so the contract has been renewed or is in the process of being renewed. I asked for the extension on this contract, but have yet to receive it. I will discuss it when received and will follow-up on that next week.

Besides the contract itself, I also inquired about the excavation going on at Grey Slip, a few miles south of Mud Creek, to obtain fill material. Grey Slip is another area of prior road issues.  I asked Cal Trans to comment on this yesterday, but so far have not received any response. One local was told that they had originally started excavation on the west side, but after some movement, moved to the east. I have not been able to confirm this, as Cal Trans did not respond to my questions. I looked through some of my photographs to see if I could find an older one to show any prior issues at this point, but haven’t been able to locate one. Rock Knocker put all his old photos in a storage unit in Paso/Templeton, so no help there. If anyone else has a photo of Grey Slip in prior years, I would love to see it.

This is what is happening at Grey Slip currently:




Highway One closure update

Photos: 1-3 of Mud Creek (PM 8.9) from Wednesday, Jan. 4 and Thursday, Jan. 5; photos 4-5 of Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge (PM 45.52) of AC grinding from Wednesday, Jan. 4 .


Everything about Mud Creek, Paul’s Slide, and the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge remains unchanged, but additional work is:

Wednesday (1-10) – Grind Deli/Post office parking lot in two sections (1/2 at a time) to keep some parking spaces available.
Thursday (1-11) – Pave the Deli/Post office parking lot.
Friday (1-12) – Pave mainline Hwy 1 from PM 44.8-45.3, which is through the Deli/post office area.

Experiencing Mud Creek

Experiencing Mud Creek …

I live not on Big Sur Island, but on Big Sur Peninsula. I can get out east, and have 4 times in the last two months – once going east to go south, once going east to go north, and twice just to go east. Friday, I decided to go south, across Mud Creek. Photographs just do not tell the story. I took none. I was too busy dodging people, big trucks, small trucks, cement trucks, loaders, and watching rocks come down off the mountain, and of course, driving, to take any photographs. It is not a story that can be told in photographs. I am not sure words can do it either. As another South Coaster said, “Mud Creek is a war zone.”

I have driven across that area hundreds, maybe even a thousand times. This was an eye-opener. CalTrans and contractors everywhere working. Drains going in, dirt being hauled away… and water coming down off the mountain in rivers. So much water. Three different slides happening simultaneously. There are many places where the road is only one dirt lane, dropping off into the ocean. There is one place where the road has dropped at least 2-3 feet and one drives off into an abyss in the making. There is impermanence here. Mother Nature is making herself heard. She was too subtle for us to hear, before, so now she roars.

On the way down, I stopped at one location and the flagger did not look at me, but kept his eyes up the mountain, watching for movement. I watched, too. On the way home I was following a truck through the same area, to have him stop on the northern end to turn around and head down to his “spot” to receive all the excess dirt he was to haul away. Of course, I had to stop and stay out of the way. I looked to my right, and saw pebbles coming down the mountain right there – right where I was. First pebbles, then rocks, then boulders, is the way it happens, Rock Knocker taught me. I did not want to stick around for the boulders. I got out of there, as soon as I could scrape by the truck.

All my life I have been an optimist. I am not optimistic about this spot, right now. Maybe after a couple months of no rain, things can stabilize, but for now, I don’t see it opening to the inexperienced and sometimes unconscious travelers that want to come up Highway One, not to mention that a high clearance vehicle is now a requirement to get through the drop-offs. I would like to have better news, but I do not.

I was going to see what Paul’s Slide was like, but I just didn’t have it in me. Maybe next week. Mud Creek was enough.


Cal Trans photograph

Highway One Closure Update & Photos, 2/6/17


Photos from this weekend of: 1) Temporary Mesh Netting installed at Big Creek/Cow Cliffs (Sat-PM 28.5); 2) Rock fall at Lucia (Sun-PM 23); Rock fall at Paul’s (Sun-PM 26.10); and Partington Ridge (this am—PM 38.6)


The weekend’s inclement weather gave us various small slides at multiple locations, but thankfully and diligently, we have been able get the roadway clear and provide good news for tomorrow morning, weather permitting.


*DUE TO MORE SLIDE MATERIAL AT PAUL’S SLIDE (PM 21.6), All Motorists may travel north on Hwy. 1 from Cambria to Limekiln Creek Bridge (PM 21.3) or south on Hwy. 1 from Carmel to Lucia (PM 23).

*If you have been following our updates, you know we have dealt with various challenges, below is the status:

1) Mud Creek (PM 8.8)—continues with drilling taking place and daytime one-way traffic control (flagging). However, slide material continues to come down. Expect 20-30 minute delays.

2) The culvert has been replaced/repaired at PM 14.4 and is no longer covered with steel plates just north of Sand Dollar Beach (PM 13.85).
3) At Paul’s Slide (PM 21.6), although we have a temporary stop sign and eventually a traffic signal—MORE MATERIAL IS COMING DOWN AND THERE IS STILL A FULL CLOSURE AT PAUL’S. (see photo).
4) There was a small slide at Lucia (PM 23) this weekend, but has been cleared. (see photo)

5) Temporary mesh netting took place this Saturday at Big Creek/Cow Cliffs (PM 28.35), allowing the roadway to open at this location. (see photo)

6) There was a slide this morning at Partington Ridge (PM 38.6), necessitating the roadway to close at Fuller’s but has been cleared and will be open to traffic. (see photo).
The roadway is not passable between PAUL’S SLIDE (PM 21.6) and LUCIA (PM 23).

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Our Maintenance, Geotech and Construction crews continue to work collaboratively and diligently, as much as safely possible in response to these rock/mudslides.

Another update will be provided on around tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 7 afternoon, or sooner if conditions change.

Susana Z. Cruz nature-flower-blue-motif[1]
Caltrans District 5
Acting Manager
Public Information Office