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Highway 1 will close at noon Wednesday due to storms

Why is Highway 1 cracking at Mud Creek?

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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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.

Highway 1 will close at noon on Wednesday until further notice due to “heavy storm activity,” as rain descends upon the Central Coast, Caltrans announced Wednesday morning.

The closure will occur at both the Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide areas, Caltrans said.

Gates on either side of Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide will be locked and will not be manned once the highway closes, Caltrans said.

Once those gates close, no one, not even emergency services or Caltrans employees, will be let through until authorities inspect the area and perform any necessary cleanup.

When both spots are closed, the only access to the stretch of Highway 1 in between will be via Nacimiento-Fergusson Road over the coastal mountains to Highway 101.

HIGHWAY 1 SLIDES MUD CREEK PAUL’S SLIDE.jpg

The closure is part of a new policy for Caltrans, where the agency will send out a 48-hour traffic advisory for the Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide areas in advance of major rainfall, so the public has time to make alternate travel plans, obtain supplies and otherwise prepare for a possible closure.

Once the advisory hits the 24-hour mark, the agency will either confirm a full closure of the highway or release more information, the agency said. It will also send an update on the day of the expected closure, Caltrans spokesman Jim Shivers told The Tribune.

This is the first season the policy will be in effect for the Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide areas, Shivers said. The policy will continue “until further notice.”

Both slides were caused by heavy winter rainfall during 2016 and 2017, the agency said. Paul’s Slide has been active since January 2017, while Mud Creek’s major collapse occurred on May 20, 2017, when more than 6 million cubic yards of material buried Highway 1.

Even though the highway has been rebuilt over the slides, “continued movement of the newly formed slopes and landslide features are expected in the future,” said Caltrans District 5 Director Tim Gubbins in a news release. “Closing the highway during significant rainfall events is necessary for the safety of the traveling public and our workers.”

Shivers reiterated that the section of Highway 1 to be closed “remains safe for all users.”

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