BIG SUR -- Highway 1 was closed to traffic about 12 miles south of Carmel on
Wednesday after a stretch of the
scenic roadway tumbled toward the Pacific Ocean far below.
About 40-feet of the two-lane highway washed out just after 5 p.m. on a
curve south of the Rocky Creek Bridge where
the highway hugs the Santa Lucia Mountains. All of the southbound lane was
gone as was a chunk of the northbound
lane. Soil under the northbound lane was reported sliding as late as 6:30 p.
The California Highway Patrol closed the southbound lane of the highway at
Palo Colorado Road and drivers going
north were stopped at the Bixby Creek Bridge.
No one was injured, a CHP dispatcher said. "Nobody went down. No people got
hurt," she said.
It was not immediately known how long the coast road would be closed.
"It could be cleaned up in a couple of days, who knows," the dispatcher said.
Caltrans workers posted signs near Rio Road to the north and near Ragged
Point and Cambria to the south warning
drivers that the highway was closed.
The road was not completely impassible.
Emergency vehicles would be allowed through "at their own risk," the CHP
For a while after the closure, people were allowed cross the area on foot,
but authorities stopped that as soil continued
to erode under the roadway.
The Rocky Point Restaurant north of the closure reported business was down
"We've had two no-shows. It's totally affecting our business," said
bartender Rose Russo. "Two people are stuck in the
bar," she said.
One was unable to go south and the other was waiting for his girlfriend
coming north from Big Sur.
The Ventana Inn and Spa and the Post Ranch Inn reported that all their
expected guests had checked in for the night.
At Ventana, a few other people who had been traveling north decided to stay
the night after learning of the wash out.
A long closure of Highway 1 would undoubtedly be bad for the tourist-
dependent businesses in Big Sur and in the tiny
communities along the highway between Big Sur and Ragged Point.
The cause of the slide was not immediately clear. The asphalt nearby looked
new and no seeping water was seen.
Fresh looking rip-rap was spotted mixed with the earth that fell from
beneath the roadway.
"It's basically just nature," the CHP dispatcher said.
Caltrans crews were expected at the slide area early today.
It was not clear late Wednesday if people who wish to cross the slide area
on foot would be allowed to do so.
Drivers who wish to get to Big Sur from the north can take Highway 101 to
south of King City and the steep and
winding Nacimiento-Fergusson Road to the coast.
The slide was reported about 5:10 p.m. by a passer-by who saw the road
The popular Big Sur International Marathon, in which the runners start 13.1
miles south of the Bixby Creek Bridge and
run north along Highway 1, is scheduled for May 1.