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Caltrans will close Hwy. 1 at Big Sur slide locations ahead of winter storms

Highway 1 reopens at Mud Creek Slide near Big Sur

The first cars drive along the newly opened section of Highway 1 across the Mud Creek Slide near Big Sur Wednesday morning. The road was closed for over a year after the massive landslide wiped out Hwy. 1.
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The first cars drive along the newly opened section of Highway 1 across the Mud Creek Slide near Big Sur Wednesday morning. The road was closed for over a year after the massive landslide wiped out Hwy. 1.

Caltrans plans to take a proactive safety stance during the upcoming winter season for a couple of Big Sur Highway 1 locations north of Cambria that were cut off for more than a year by major landslides in the winter of 2016-2017.

The plan calls for closing the highway at Paul’s Slide and/or Mud Creek ahead of a potential storm, according to spokeswoman Susana Cruz.

“When significant storms are forecasted by NOAA, we will be sending a 48-hour traffic advisory to our Highway 1 group to be ready just in case the roadway needs to close due to an expected significant storm,” Cruz told The Tribune early Wednesday. “This will allow prep work, stocking supplies, making plans, etc.

“At the 24-hour mark, we’ll send a traffic advisory either confirming or canceling the full closure. The 48/24-hour notices apply only to Paul’s Slide and Mud Creek — each closure treated separately.”

That means there could be two separate closures, or just one, depending on the safety assessment.

Caltrans’ Geotech, Maintenance and Construction divisions will be “lined up to inspect/clean up the following morning,” Cruz said.

“There will be gates (being installed as we speak) both at Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide that will be locked, no padlocks,” she said. “These gates will not be manned. No one — including emergency services or our own employees — will be allowed to go through until a proper assessment can be made, any cleanup necessary done” and the roadway has been declared to be safe to travel again.

She said she expects that additional details on the plan will be “drafted, approved and sent out” sometime during the first full week of November.

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A few weeks after scenic Highway 1 reopened to Big Sur, cracks have appeared in the pavement as the new roadway settles at the site of the Mud Creek Slide.

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