The Cambrian

With Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge destroyed, Caltrans looks ahead

Final section of Big Sur's Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge comes tumbling down

The third and final span of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Big Sur was demolished on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. The bridge was deemed unsafe in February because it shifted after of a series of strong storms.
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The third and final span of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Big Sur was demolished on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. The bridge was deemed unsafe in February because it shifted after of a series of strong storms.

The wrecking ball prevailed: The damaged but stubborn Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge has been demolished, with the first section yielding Wednesday, March 22, and the onslaught of demo equipment forcing the remaining sections to tumble down the canyon within a few days.

Caltrans crews continue cleaning up the debris before starting to install a new bridge that’s estimated to be complete by late fall, although that timeframe is tentative, being weather-and-workflow dependent.

Meanwhile, several landslide areas are keeping nearly 50 miles of Highway 1 closed to through traffic, from Ragged Point to the Multi-Agency Facility 46.35 miles north of the Monterey-San Luis Obispo county line. Crews are working on those areas, too.

Access is available to some areas, but getting there can be challenging. The rugged Nacimiento-Fergusson Road has reopened, as have some camping areas. A Caltrans email sent Monday, March 20 noted that “public access on Highway 1, using Nacimiento-Fergusson, will be to Gorda to the south (10 miles north of the county line) and to Limekiln State Park to the north (20 miles north).”

Residents are allowed narrow windows of access to some areas that are closed to travelers.

So, most visitors from the north who want to travel to Cambria will take the long way around on highways 101 and 46 West to Highway 1.

Take a look at the debris left behind after much of Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Big Sur was demolished and plummeted to the canyon below on Saturday, March 18, 2017. The bridge cracked and shifted during recent rains, and officials declared the brid

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