West Coast
via Caltrans

CA - Big Sur: Highway 1 to reopen at Rat Creek this summer after $11.5 million repair

Emergency repairs on Highway 1 at Rat Creek, where a debris flow washed out a 150-foot section in January forcing the closure of the roadway, will begin Monday with an estimated reopening of the highway along the Big Sur Coast for early summer 2021.

“The repairs for Highway 1 at Rat Creek include improvements that can prevent similar damage from future debris flows,” said Caltrans District 5 Director Tim Gubbins in a press release. “We look forward to swiftly making these repairs so that all travelers will have a safe and resilient stretch of highway.”

After assessing the damage, removing debris and making minor repairs, the roadway will be reconnected at Rat Creek with an enhanced fill option. Caltrans will fill the canyon with dirt in a large v-shape and construct a new road on top of the fill.

The repairs will cost an estimated $11.5 million, including $5 million in ongoing emergency repairs north of Rat Creek. The contractor for the project is Papich Construction of Arroyo Grande.

The road failure along the stretch of Highway 1 on the Big Sur Coast occurred Jan. 28 during an atmospheric river storm when mud and debris from the burn scar left by the Dolan Fire overtook a culvert, sending the flow over Highway 1 and causing it to erode back toward the hillside.

“Caltrans crews have been on site since this highway section washed out in the recent storms to assess the damage, and we’re pleased to announce emergency construction begins next week to repair and reconnect the highway,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin in the announcement. “Highway 1 is an iconic roadway that connects travelers with small businesses on the Central Coast, and we’re focused on restoring travel on this section by early summer.”

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