Highway 1 Closures to Shorten as Intensive Assessment Efforts at Rat Creek •

COUNTY – The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Friday, February 5, that Caltrans crews on both sides of Rath Creek will continue working tirelessly to clear blocked culverts, remove standing water and debris, clear rockfalls and repair roads, and modify the northern and southern boundaries of the closure of Big Sur Coast Highway 1.

Starting at 6 p.m. Friday, the north side of Big Sur Coast Highway 1 will be closed from Post Mile 34.1 to PM 32.6 south of the Esalen Institute. This will give you access to the last businesses on the coast before reaching Rat Creek.

Over the weekend, crews will work behind this new closure line to reinforce the Lime Creek dam at MP 32.1, which should be operational early next week. Lime Creek is 1 mile from Rath Creek and will direct southbound traffic on Highway 1 while repairs are made to Rath Creek.

The southbound Highway 1 closure will be moved from its current location at Willow Creek at 4 p.m. north of Pacific Valley to 6 p.m. on Monday, February 8. Approximately two weeks later, the southbound closure is expected to be moved northward along the coast to Big Creek Vista Point at 2:03 p.m., where a detour will be constructed.

There is still a lot of repair work to be done on Highway 1 between Rat Creek and Big Creek Vista Point. This section of highway will continue to be a priority for plows and contractors. Numerous culverts on this section of road are clogged and overburdened by debris flows. Rock debris still needs to be cleared behind the Cow Rocks grate and portions of the roadway need to be stabilized and repaired before this section of road can be opened to the public.

An intensive survey continues at the Rat Creek site. Ground and aerial surveys have provided the data needed to describe current topographic conditions following the massive debris flow. Geotechnical and environmental studies are also continuing. Crews have also begun removing debris in the watershed itself.

The teams work on site seven days a week. There is no estimate of the current completion date for this phase of the assessment. Ongoing culvert cutting and debris removal work on the newly opened sections of Highway 1 will continue with the marking work. Travelers are advised to use caution and short delays may occur.

The update comes a week after Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Monterey and SAN LUIS OBISPO counties due to winter storms that caused mudslides and mudslides, forced the evacuation of thousands of residents and damaged critical infrastructure, including parts of Highway 1.

The emergency law directs Caltrans to formally request immediate assistance from local governments through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Assistance Program and the Office of Emergency Services.

The full text of today’s proclamation can be found here.

Caltrans reminds motorists to maneuver and drive slower when crossing work zones on highways.

For up-to-date traffic information on other highways in Monterey County, travelers can contact Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at (805)549-3318 or visit the District 5 website.

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