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Caltrans work: Putting a ‘safety net’ on Hwy. 1 near Big Sur

Traffic on Highway 1 is stopped near the site of last year’s landslide at Alder Creek on Wednesday as a helicopter lowers netting onto the hillside.
Traffic on Highway 1 is stopped near the site of last year’s landslide at Alder Creek on Wednesday as a helicopter lowers netting onto the hillside. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

UPDATE 5:15 p.m.: Seven days of helicopter operations by ARIS Helicopters from Hollister cost about $90,000, Caltrans reported Friday, bringing the total bill for work on the Alder Creek slide area to nearly $2.5 million since the April landslide.

The newly installed wire mesh netting covers a 40-degree slope that rises about 775 feet from the road and 300 feet wide, or over 200,000 square feet.

Original story: A helicopter hung rock-net drapery Wednesday over the Alder Creek area of Big Sur where a massive landslide closed Highway 1 from April 14 to June 9 last year.

There have been a number of slides in the area in recent years. The wire nets, similar to chain-link fencing, are “supposed to catch rocks to keep them from falling down and hitting vehicles,” according to Susana Cruz of Caltrans. “It’s literally a safety net.”

Caltrans crews are doing the work about nine miles north of Ragged Point, about 7.5 miles north of the Monterey County line.

The helicopter was hired by Caltrans to lift the wire from the highway and up onto the slope. Caltrans couldn’t say Thursday how much the project cost. Work is expected to be completed in February, weather permitting.

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