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Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge reopens, allowing coastal access to Big Sur

Big Sur residents celebrate the opening of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge on Highway One in Big Sur on Friday after eight months of construction and $24 million.
Big Sur residents celebrate the opening of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge on Highway One in Big Sur on Friday after eight months of construction and $24 million. Monterey Herald

After an eight-month wait, Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Big Sur finally reopened on Friday.

The bridge, which has been closed since February, was ready for travel as of 1:10 p.m., according to Caltrans.

Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge — located 45.5 miles north of the Monterey County line — is a crucial part of Highway 1, the coastal road that allows travelers to access Big Sur’s renowned hiking and camping areas.

The bridge failed and was closed after supports shifted following heavy rain, creating cracks. Eventually, Caltrans determined the entire bridge would need to be demolished and replaced.

The structure’s closure has forced travelers to use an out-of-the-way inland route, Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, to reach the region. The lack of tourist traffic has had an effect on local businesses, including those on San Luis Obispo County’s North Coast.

“The excitement is (palpable) in Big Sur today,” said Kate Novoa, a Big Sur blogger, in a Friday post. “It will be a celebration. It will be a happy time. It will be a zoo.”

Although one part of Highway 1 is now open, the Mud Creek Slide wiped out another huge portion of the road in May, closing a section just north of Salmon Creek to just south of Gorda.

Caltrans is building a new road over the slide area, but it likely won’t be finished until next summer.

Lindsey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lindseyholden27

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