Massive Big Sur landslide could keep highway closed 1 year

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A half-mile segment of Highway 1 will remain closed for at least a year due to the massive Mud Creek Slide, the longest that coastal Big Sur routes have been blocked in decades, a Caltrans spokesman said Friday. "We have to see if there's any roadway underneath here, which we feel it might be gone". And, lastly, if you're near a source of water and there are any big, sudden changes, get out of there immediately.

"It's still active", Cruz said.

The slide was caused by groundwater seepage after the winter's rains, and by groundwater percolating up from the soil in springs, which engineers had already been observing for weeks before the slide - part of the reason why workers had been removed from the area last week and why no one was around when the slide took place, or was injured or buried by it.

Caltrans has not provided an estimated time for clearing and opening the roadway. That compares with $660 million past year, he said. Repeated landslides and floods have taken out bridges and highways, closed campgrounds, and forced some resorts to shut down temporarily or use helicopters to fly in guests and supplies.

The massive weekend rock slide that buried a stretch of Highway 1 in the Mud Creek area south of Big Sur has reshaped the shoreline.

This past winter's storms and their aftermath follows in the wake of another blow to tourism in Big sur, when in 2016, a wildfire in the Los Padres National Forest raged for nearly three months. The 10-mile stretch is a rural area that includes popular Limekiln State Park, which is open.

Kirk Gafill, president of the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce and owner of the historic Nepenthe Restaurant, said the slide may prove a blessing, stabilizing land that Caltrans was working to shore up. The slide created a new coastline 250 feet out from where it had been the day before.

The highway already was closed at that spot - nearly continuously since January - and at a few other points along the dozens of miles of coast because of landslides caused by unusually heavy winter and spring rains.

[.] with this year's big winter storms continuing to wreak havoc on roads and trails, getting to one of California's most dramatic stretches of coastline isn't easy - and it can also be very expensive. He said Tuesday he wouldn't trade in his work location for somewhere safer. "Big Sur can scare some people, and those people usually come and go pretty quickly".

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