The Cambrian

Heading to Big Sur on Highway 1? Expect lane closures and traffic delays

Heading north on Highway 1 to Big Sur or beyond? Be prepared for traffic slowdowns for a while.

A contractor began treating the concrete and steel of the Big Creek Bridge, about 27 miles south of Big Sur, starting Wednesday, Nov. 6.

According to Caltrans, the $10.5 million project by Truesdell Corp. of CA from Tempe, Arizona, is expected to be finished in the summer of 2021. Until the project is completed, no “permit truck loads” will be allowed on the bridge, with only legal trucks allowed.

Through Friday, Nov. 15, weekday traffic will be subject to intermittent lane closures with one-way controls from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Caltrans hasn’t yet announced the delay or work schedules beyond that.

For the first few days of the project, the contractor will be mobilizing equipment in the area, resulting in traffic delays of 10 to 15 minutes.

From Monday, Nov. 11, through Friday, Nov. 15, Truesdell crews will be installing scaffolding under the bridge, with equipment crossing the roadway. That will produce delays of up to 15 minutes.

Caltrans says the project will extend the life of the concrete structures with the use of electrochemical chloride extraction (ECE). The process removes chloride ions from the bridge’s concrete and reinstate the passivity of the steel reinforcement.

You can find a more in-depth explanation of the ECE process at

Highway 1 projects near completion

Meanwhile, two other Highway 1 construction projects along the Big Sur stretch of the highway are just about done, according to Caltrans.

Paving a final lift of asphalt on a safety-upgrade project along the approximately mile and a half between Hurricane Point and the Rocky Creek Viaduct is set for Tuesday, Nov. 12. Striping is to follow on the week of Nov. 19, the final task on the project to widen shoulders and upgrade guardrails. There will be two 12-foot-wide lanes and two 4-foot-wide shoulders.

Rehabbing a series of seven culverts located from 2.5 miles to 67.3 miles north of the San Luis Obispo/Monterey county line should be finished by Thanksgiving, Caltrans spokesperson Susana Cruz estimated in a media release. What’s left to do is grading the final culvert and placing erosion-control devices. However, workers will continue establishing plants in the area for about a year.

Contractors on the $5.3 million safety upgrade and $3 million culvert-replacement projects are Granite Construction of Watsonville and Serafix Engineering Contractors of San Ramon, respectively.

For more information on these projects or traffic updates on other Caltrans projects in San Luis Obispo or Monterey counties, call the District 5 Public Affairs Office at 805-549-3318 or visit

Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway work zones.

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Kathe Tanner has been writing about the people and places of SLO County’s North Coast since 1981, first as a columnist and then also as a reporter. Her career has included stints as a bakery owner, public relations director, radio host, trail guide and jewelry designer. She has been a resident of Cambria for more than four decades, and if it’s happening in town, Kathe knows about it.