Highway 1 will close in Big Sur ahead of weekend storms

Watch Caltrans crews work to clear mud from Highway 1

CaltransD7 crews clearing mud on PCH this morning. The highway remains closed today due to several slides.
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CaltransD7 crews clearing mud on PCH this morning. The highway remains closed today due to several slides.

Highway 1 will close ahead of strong winter storms expected to sweep across the Central Coast this weekend.

Caltrans will close a 13-mile stretch of the roadway north of Ragged Point between Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide starting at 5 p.m. Friday, according to the agency’s District 5 Facebook page.

Highway 1 will be closed both ways “due to a major storm forecast,” according to the post.

Caltrans has routinely closed the road throughout the winter ahead of major storms, when rock and mudslides could create hazardous conditions.

When Highway 1 closes in the area, gates on either side of Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide are locked and unmanned, 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 is via Nacimiento-Fergusson Road over the coastal mountains to Highway 101.

Each closure is treated separately, which means that the highway at Paul’s Slide could reopen while the Mud Creek side could remain closed, and vice versa.

Intense storms are predicted for Friday and Saturday, likely bringing rain and gale-force winds that will persist through Monday and Tuesday, PG&E meteorologist John Lindsey said.

Crews will assess damage on Saturday morning and provide an update on when the road could reopen.

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing, immigration and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She also covers northern San Luis Obispo County city governments and school districts. Lindsey joined The Tribune in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. She’s a native Californian raised in the Midwest and is a proud graduate of two Chicago schools: DePaul University and Northwestern University.