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Massive slide buries part of the iconic California highway

BIG SUR, California. – A massive landslide along an iconic coastal highway in California is buried the road under a 40-foot layer of rock and dirt, the latest hit after a winter of crippling slides and floods.

A strip of the hill, place in an area called Mud Creek on Saturday night, the change of the Big Sur coast below what now looks like a rounded skirt hem, Susana Cruz, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation, said Tuesday.

More than 1 million tons of rock and dirt tumbled down the slope, which is still unstable. The slide is with respect to a quarter of a mile of Highway 1.

“We are not able to go there and assess them. It is still moving,” Cruz said. “We have geologists and engineers that are going to check it this week to see how do we pick up the pieces.”

The state had already closed that part of Highway 1 to repair buckled pavement and the removal of debris after an earlier slide triggered by one of California’s rainiest winters of the last decades.

The authorities removed work crews of the area last week after realizing that saturated the soil in that area was increasingly unstable, Cruz said.

Narrow, windy Highway 1 through Big Sur is a major tourist attraction, attracting visitors to the serene forests of redwoods, the beaches and the motorway the dramatic oceanside landscape between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The rough winter has closed at least two other pieces of road in the region, causing some resorts to close down and others the use of helicopters to ferry in the supplies and the guests.

Kirk Gafill, president of the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce and the owner of the historic Restaurant Nepenthe, said that people who live in the area have to contend with Mother Nature, even more than global economic cycles.

“In our way of thinking and our way of planning, it is not a matter of if, it is a matter of “when,” he said. “You just hope that they are spread far enough over the years, so that you can fill with your cash reserves.”

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