A group of aggrieved bicyclists and others are organizing to pressure Caltrans to repave by June 1 a recently chip-sealed section of Highway 1, from the northern edge of Cambria to the Monterey County line.
The group’s organizers say a study of the problem, for which Caltrans is currently negotiating, likely won’t be done in time to salvage the summer tourist season, which includes a number of organized bicycle rides often done by hundreds of riders at a time.
The reality of losing large bus tours and rides — the latter benefitting such causes as the Cambria Recreation Center (Gene Cerise Memorial Country Coast Classic Ride), Best Buddies, Arthritis Foundation (California Coast Classic), Wounded Warrior Project and others — could be a substantial economic hammer.
Group organizers, including Tom Fulks of Morro Bay, are urging supporters to send letters to the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG), asking that repaving the road by June be placed on the agency’s Feb. 6 agenda as an action item. It’s currently there as an information item.
On Thursday, Jan. 31, field reps for Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian and Sen. Bill Monning are to meet with representatives of the protest group at the county administrative office.
The group wants a resolution or letter of support from SLOCOG for immediate budget allocation for Caltrans to repair the highway soon.
Cyclists and others say the size of the rocks used in the chip sealing and the quality of the job have made the roadway dangerous for those on bicycles, motorcycles and on foot, and unsafe for motorists, whose vehicle windshields could be chipped or broken.
Caltrans ordered the chip-seal job to extend pavement life on the busy, scenic roadway between Cambria, Big Sur and Monterey. It’s one of the most popular cycling routes in the county and state, according to tour planners and others.
Many of the rocks have worked their way out of the pavement, and been thrown up toward other vehicles in traffic.
Caltrans is working with University of California Pavement Research Center at U.C. Davis on a study to determine the best way to fix the problem, both along the 20-mile stretch of the All American Road and for future projects on roadways used frequently by cyclists.
But studies take time, the cyclist group says, and their focus from here on out is to be getting the road repaved before the start of the summer bicycling and vacationing season.
Follow Kathe Tanner on Twitter at @CambriaReporter.