Highway 1 at Paul’s Slide will soon reopen to one-way traffic

The new Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge is on schedule for completion in September, Caltrans says.
The new Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge is on schedule for completion in September, Caltrans says.

Highway 1 at Paul’s Slide should be open to one-way traffic by the end of the week, Susana Cruz of Caltrans said Monday.

Meanwhile, she said, Caltrans continues to conduct geological testing on the larger Mud Creek Slide, 9 miles north of the Monterey County line.

Cruz, Caltrans District 5 public information officer, said the only remaining holdup for reopening the highway at Paul’s Slide, as of Monday, was a single large boulder.

“We’re hoping to have it open at the end of the week,” she said. “There’s one big boulder that they need to get rid of. They need to bring it down and blast it. It could be a day or two.”

Cruz gave a timeline of somewhere between Tuesday and Thursday to open the road at Paul’s Slide, which would likely be subject to one-way traffic control 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Traffic would be routed “primarily on the southbound lane, just to allow for any catchment or any other slide activity,” she said.

Paul’s Slide is about 22 miles north of the Monterey County line, so traffic coming from Cambria, San Simeon and points will still be blocked by the Mud Creek Slide, which is farther south. Currently, northbound traffic can’t go farther than 5 miles north of Ragged Point.

That traffic can only reach the Gorda area of the coast and Limekiln State Park via a long inland detour using Nacimento-Fergusson Road.

Caltrans engineers are busy testing the Mud Creek Slide, and Cruz said those tests likely would continue through sometime in August.

She said Caltrans is “still looking at options about what the best viable solution will be.”

“By taking time now, we hope to be able to save time later. We’re taking our time to make all the assessments necessary.”

Until the road reopens at Paul’s Slide, access there is restricted to limited windows for local residents and deliveries:

▪  5 to 6 a.m. and 7 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday through Thursday.

▪  5:30 to 8 a.m. and 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Meanwhile, steel girders continue to be fabricated in Vallejo and trucked to the site of a new $24 million bridge to be constructed over Pfeiffer Canyon, 45 miles north of the county line. Cruz said that project is on schedule for completion in September.

The old bridge failed after heavy rains saturated the hillside, and the entire span had to be torn down.

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