Local

Here’s when some businesses, parks plan to reopen in Big Sur — and how to get to them

Mark your calendars for Big Sur’s grand reopening from the north: Saturday, Sept. 30, according to Caltrans’ latest projection. But some businesses and parks plan to open even sooner.

Still, it will be six months before Big Sur’s broken link — the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, damaged by winter storms — is ready for tourists to make the classic coastal Highway 1 drive between Northern and Southern California.

Pfeiffer Canyon has split Big Sur in half. South of the downed bridge are the fire station; post office; and Big Sur’s famous but now-shuttered retreats like Nepenthe Restaurant, Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn, Post Ranch Inn, Ventana Inn and the Esalen Institute.

Deetjen’s, partially damaged by landslides, aims to open its inn and restaurant sometime in April if there is access from the south. Esalen will open June 9.

Deetjen’s, partially damaged by landslides, aims to open its inn and restaurant sometime in April if there is access from the south. Esalen will open June 9.

Starting Monday, a steep and narrow half-mile footpath — for local residents, schoolchildren and service workers — will open from sunrise to sunset, linking both sides of Big Sur’s divide. Access is available only to authorized people through State Parks-issued waivers and passes.

Cyclists are prohibited from using the trail, according to John De Luca, Big Sur Sector-Monterey District superintendent for California State Parks.

“This is an emergency bypass trail intended for pedestrian traffic only,” he wrote.

What are other access routes to Big Sur?

Watch as crews bring down most of Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Big Sur on Saturday, March 18, 2017. The bridge cracked and shifted during recent winter storms and could not be repaired. This video was taken by Stan Russell, executive director of Big

From the east, Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, accessible from Fort Hunter Liggett and Highway 101, is now open to the public. But it is a difficult road in the best of times and is unlikely to be a safe major artery for tourists from the north. And once on the coast, drivers will find Highway 1 open only to Gorda on the south and Limekiln State Park on the north.

From the south, “Paul’s Slide” at Ragged Point, damaged by a mudslide, is closed until May 1. (Only residents and deliveries are allowed through — and only on Friday mornings and evenings.) Another site, called Mud Creek, also is closed until May 1, according to Caltrans.

For hikers, California State Parks hopes to open two storm-damaged parks — Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and Andrew Molera State Park, by mid-June. Both are accessible from the north. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Limekiln State Park remain inaccessible from the north until the bridge is rebuilt.

Meanwhile, local businesses are frustrated that Caltrans has ruled out a temporary pedestrian suspension bridge over Pfeiffer Canyon.

“Caltrans seems insensitive to the financial and personal disaster south of the Pfeiffer Bridge,” said Gregory Hawthorne, owner of Big Sur’s Hawthorne Gallery and a partner in Post Ranch Inn. “There is available space for a pedestrian suspension bridge. This would help facilitate the construction of the new bridge by allowing workers to move from one side to the other. This would also accommodate a gurney for the injured, food for families and businesses could be moved by wagon or wheelbarrow. Children could walk to a waiting school bus.”

A temporary bridge could also link tourists to hotels, restaurants and galleries, he said.

“This is not only a convenience; it is vital to the survival of this stranded community,” he said.

Take a look at the debris left behind after much of Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Big Sur was demolished and plummeted to the canyon below on Saturday, March 18, 2017. The bridge cracked and shifted during recent rains, and officials declared the brid

Contact Lisa M. Krieger at lkrieger@bayareanewsgroup.com or 408-859-5306.

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune

  Comments