Caltrans District 5 Released the following update on February 1, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.
AFTER PARTIAL LIFTING OF EVACUATION ORDER RESIDENTS NORTH OF RAT CREEK RETURN; THOSE SOUTH STILL SUBJECT TO CLOSURE OF HIGHWAY 1
MONTEREY and SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTIES – Today, Monterey County partially lifted an Evacuation Order that had been in place since January 26, in advance of approaching rainstorms for areas downslope of the Dolan Fire burn scar which were subject to debris flows. At the request of the California Highway Patrol, and in support of this Order, Caltrans had initiated a 44-mile closure of Highway 1 on the Big Sur coast to create safe conditions for evacuations to take place.
During the intense rainstorms, and in an area below the Dolan Fire burn scar, a section of road washed out at Rat Creek, severing Highway 1 and creating a 150-foot chasm in the roadway at Post Mile 30.2.
Although the wash out at Rat Creek was the most apparent and significant devastation, it was not the only location on Highway 1 along the Big Sur coast to suffer damage.
Caltrans and contractor crews working north and south of Rat Creek on Highway 1 continue to clear multiple debris piles, remove slides, remove accumulations of water, clear and repair drainage systems, and stabilize damaged sections of roadway at approximately 60 locations that were impacted by storm damage.
Several of these locations still need to stabilize and dry out before final cleanup and repair work can restore the highway to allow for public use. At Rat Creek engineering alternatives are being analyzed and data is being gathered with no timeline available for complete reopening at this time.
Today, the northern limit of the Highway 1 closure will be relocated to the vicinity of South Coast Center near Post Mile 34.
A traffic control checkpoint at that location will be staffed 24 hours a day allowing only locals to pass and return to assess any damage at their homes. There will be sections of the road between the South Coast Center closure and Rat Creek that will be restricted down to one lane and local motorists are advised to drive with appropriate caution. During daytime hours contractor forces will be working in this area and may cause short delays.
As crews effect repairs and stabilize the roadway over the next several weeks, the northern traffic control checkpoint should continue to move southward until it reaches the approach to Rat Creek.
Damage to Highway 1 south of Rat Creek remains in such condition that it will delay the ability of residents who live south of Rat Creek to return to their homes.
The southern closure, currently at Ragged Pont, will be moved north to Willow Creek Rd. at Post Mile 11.2 today at 6 pm.
In similar fashion as in the north, the southern edge of the closure will continue to move tracking the progress of maintenance and contractor crews as they work north.
While there is no current timeline for the complete reopening of the southern end of the closure, continuous updates will be provided in the days and weeks ahead.
Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when
driving through highway work zones.
For traffic updates on other state highways in Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties, travelers may contact Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805-549-3318 or can visit the District 5 website at: https://dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-5