UPDATE: Highway 1 closed north of Big Sur for at least a month

betling@thetribunenews.comMarch 16, 2011 

UPDATE 4:10 p.m.

Caltrans officials estimated Thursday that Highway 1 will be closed for at least a month in the northern part of Big Sur, because that's the quickest that a temporary repair could be completed, according to emergency crews. All day, they've been assessing the damage caused when part of the steep, scenic highway's southbound lane slid into the ocean.

Rain predicted to begin Friday through next week could add more damage to the area and more time to the estimated reopening.

Businesses and Hearst Castle remain open. The highway is completely closed, even to emergency vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, according to Caltrans spokeswoman Suzana Cruz.

The scenic highway is the connector between Cambria and Carmel/Monterey.

UPDATE 12:09 p.m.

Highway 1 near the north end of Big Sur will be closed indefinitely because at least 40 feet of the scenic highway’s southbound lane has given way there, Caltrans announced this morning.

Area businesses remain open, as does Hearst Castle. Alternate routes include highways 101, 68 and 46.

Engineers are assessing the “severe damage” so they can determine how to fix the road and estimate how long repairs will take.

The damage followed several days of heavy rain, and more of the same is in the forecast for next week, which could further hamper attempts to reopen the link between Cambria and Carmel. The washout is about 14 miles north of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and 13 miles south of Carmel.

No injuries were reported.

— Kathe Tanner

Original story: Forty feet of Highway 1 has given way on the north end of Big Sur, forcing the closure of the road for at least a few days, the CHP reported Wednesday evening.

The highway slid down a hillside shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday between Bixby Bridge and Palo Colorado in an area called Hurricane Point following several days of heavy rain.

Caltrans closed several miles of the road south of Garrapata State Park and posted signs warning motorists about the washout.

No injuries were reported.

Motorists who need to get from Carmel to Cambria are advised to use Highway 101.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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