Caltrans Begins Recovery of Big Sur Highway Collapse

Tue March 09, 2021 - West Edition #6
Caltrans


After assessing the damage, removing debris and making minor repairs, Caltrans will reconnect 
the roadway at Rat Creek 
with an enhanced fill option.
After assessing the damage, removing debris and making minor repairs, Caltrans will reconnect the roadway at Rat Creek with an enhanced fill option.
After assessing the damage, removing debris and making minor repairs, Caltrans will reconnect 
the roadway at Rat Creek 
with an enhanced fill option. Debris flow from the Dolan Fire burn scar washed out a 150-ft. section of roadway on Jan. 28, causing a full closure. Caltrans estimates the repairs will cost $11.5 million, including $5 million in ongoing emergency repairs north of Rat Creek. The contractor is Papich Construction of Arroyo Grande.

Caltrans announced that major emergency repairs of Highway 1 on the Big Sur Coast at Rat Creek have begun and that it estimates it will reopen the famed roadway early this summer.

Debris flow from the Dolan Fire burn scar washed out a 150-ft. section of roadway on Jan. 28, causing a full closure.

Caltrans estimates the repairs will cost $11.5 million, including $5 million in ongoing emergency repairs north of Rat Creek. The contractor is Papich Construction of Arroyo Grande.

After assessing the damage, removing debris and making minor repairs, Caltrans will reconnect the roadway at Rat Creek with an enhanced fill option. Caltrans will fill the canyon with dirt in a large V-shape and construct a new road on top of the fill.

"Caltrans crews have been onsite since this highway section washed out in the recent storms to assess the damage, and we're pleased to announce emergency construction begins to repair and reconnect the highway," Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said. "Highway 1 is an iconic roadway that connects travelers with small businesses on the central coast, and we're focused on restoring travel on this section by early summer."

The enhanced fill option also involves replacing the main drainage system at Rat Creek with an oversized main culvert, a secondary culvert and smaller overflow culverts closer to the highway grade. This will increase the capacity of the drainage system, add redundancies designed to withstand future debris flows and enhance the resiliency and sustainability of the highway against rising sea level and coastal erosion.

"The repairs for Highway 1 at Rat Creek include improvements that can prevent similar damage from future debris flows," said Caltrans District 5 Director Tim Gubbins. "We look forward to swiftly making these repairs so that all travelers will have a safe and resilient stretch of highway."

Approximately 5 mi. of Highway 1 will be closed to all vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic during repairs. The northern turnaround is 2 mi. north of Rat Creek at the Lime Creek Bridge at PM 32.1 and the southern closure is at Big Creek Vista Point at PM 27.3.

The plan calls for work seven days a week during daylight hours, with longer shifts possible as the project progresses. The repair work involves the manipulation of tens of thousands of cu. yds. of material. Caltrans will adjust the timetable, as necessary.

All businesses and activities south of Rat Creek in communities including Lucia, Gorda, Treebones, Ragged Point, San Simeon and Cambria will continue to remain accessible from the south on Highway 1. Similarly, the entire stretch of Highway 1 north of the closure, from Monterey and Carmel to the businesses and recreational facilities of the greater Big Sur area, will be open for business and unaffected by the closure. Only through traffic on Highway 1 is affected by the washout at Rat Creek.




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