BIG SUR, California. – California transportation officials have targeted July for the reopening of an iconic stretch of Highway 1 in scenic Big Sur coast, which was blocked last year by a huge landslide.
The road that connects Los Angeles to San Francisco was projected to open in the middle of September, but the California Department of Transportation announced Tuesday it will open for all travelers by the end of July.
“The reconstruction of the Highway 1 and the restoration of traffic along the Big Sur coast is our priority, and by the opening of the motorway faster than expected, it increases the many central coast communities affected by this large landslide,” said Richard Rosales, acting district director.
The Highway 1 is haunted by slides since December of 2016, but of the one it came in May 2017 was monumental. Millions of tonnes of earth being moved, the move of 75 acres (30 ha) of the country.
The debris slid off into the ocean, creating 15 acres (6 hectares) of the new shoreline of about 9 miles (14.5 km) north of the Monterey-San Luis Obispo county line.
The ministry of transport has since worked to stabilize the slide for the reconstruction of the highway. The $54 million project included the construction of a huge rock seawall at the foot of the slide.
This strategy is allowing the roadway reconstruction faster and at a lower cost than other alternatives, such as structures, a tunnel or a large, earthen wall, which brings in extra padding in the ocean, the ministry of transport said.
The work is being done about 25 miles (40 km) south of where a different segment of the highway was blocked when a storm arose landslide destroyed a bridge in the beginning of 2017.
In October last year, a replacement span was designed without the support of the columns was opened that may be vulnerable to future slides.