Rough Road 2

A Caltrans sign at the base of the Mud Creek slide states the obvious.

It was the biggest slide in Big Sur's recorded history: On May 20, at Mud Creek, about five million cubics yards of earth slid onto Highway 1 and toward the sea. 

Six weeks later—after various forms of scientific data have been continually collected and analyzed—there is finally a plan to reopen the highway at the slide, which is about 10 miles north of the Monterey County line at Ragged Point.

In an Aug. 2 statement, Caltrans announced it is not going to clear the massive quantities of dirt over the road. Instead, it will build a road across the slide—or, around it—and buttress it "with a series of embankments, berms, rocks, netting, culverts and other stabilizing material." 

According to the statement, "this strategy will allow Caltrans to rebuild the roadway more quickly and at a lower cost than other alternatives such as structures, a tunnel or major earthwork that places additional fill into the ocean."

Caltrans expects to know the timeline for reopening and the anticipated cost by the end of August.

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