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Highway 1 reopens at Paul’s Slide, widening access to Big Sur

Caltrans crews work at the Paul’s Slide site on Highway 1 earlier this year.
Caltrans crews work at the Paul’s Slide site on Highway 1 earlier this year.

Travelers still need to use an inland detour to reach a stretch of Highway 1 affected by road closures, but they now have access to a much longer stretch of coastline as of Tuesday.

Caltrans announced in a news release that workers had blasted away the only remaining obstacle — a large boulder — and reopened the road at Paul’s Slide as of 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The slide, the smaller of two major mudslides that have closed Highway 1, is about 22 miles north of the Monterey County line. With the road reopened there, the public now has access to a 35-mile stretch of the highway in Monterey County, from south of Gorda to just south of Pfeiffer Canyon.

Previously, only about a 13-mile segment of highway was open between the larger Mud Creek Slide, nine miles north of the Monterey County line, and Paul’s Slide.

Cruz, Caltrans District 5 public information officer, said Monday the highway there 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, she said.

The 35-mile stretch of highway is accessible only from inland via Nacimiento-Fergusson Road. The northern end is expected to reopen in September when a new bridge is in place across Pfeiffer Canyon, replacing its damaged-and-then-demolished predecessor.

In the south, Highway 1 remains closed from north of Salmon Creek, about three miles north of the Monterey County line, to Gorda, seven miles farther up the road. Cruz said Monday that geological testing on the Mid Creek slide would likely continue into August.

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