Highway 1 closure in SLO County to shorten as crews make ‘good progress’ on slide cleanup
Drivers heading north on Highway 1 will be able to go a little farther Wednesday evening when Caltrans expects to open the scenic route as far as Ragged Point.
Highway 1 has been closed from just south of Ragged Point in San Luis Obispo County to Lime Creek in Monterey County for weeks, due to damage from a series of landslides.
At 5 p.m. Wednesday, Caltrans plans to move the southern perimeter of the closure from the elephant seal viewing area, located four miles north of San Simeon, to Ragged Point, about seven miles north of Piedras Blancas Light Station.
Highway 1 will remain closed at Lime Creek in the north, Caltrans District 5 public information officer Alexa Bertola wrote in a news release. That’s about 32 miles north of the border between San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties,
Caltrans previously reported that Highway 1 would open to the public at Polar Star, located about a mile south of Ragged Point, on Feb. 12.
The scenic stretch of Highway 1 has been closed to traffic since severe storms slammed into the Central Coast in January. The Polar Star slide came first on Jan. 4, followed by Paul’s Slide on Jan. 14 and the Mill Creek slide on Jan. 15.
“Crews have made good progress on slide removal and drainage restoration efforts at Polar Star, one mile south of Ragged Point in San Luis Obispo County,” Bertola said in the release.
That’s happy news for people who live, work, and do business in the area, especially those at the Ragged Point Inn and Resort. The popular, scenic resort has been closed since a slide at the Polar Star area shut down access.
If weather conditions cooperate, Highway 1 will open from Ragged Point to south of the Mill Creek Slide by the evening of Feb. 12, Caltrans said.
Once that happens, drivers will be able to travel to a vehicle turnaround at Pacific Valley, about 16 miles north of the county line, the agency said.
Drivers can expect lane closures with reversing traffic control seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. over the next month, Caltrans said.
“Travelers can expect delays up to 30 minutes over the next month to allow for slope drapery, erosion control, restoring and repairing damage to the roadway at Polar Star and other locations along the Coast,” Bertola said.
Caltrans continues to coordinate supply convoys between Ragged Point and near the Mill Creek slide area, about 18 miles north of the county line. The next convoy is scheduled for Friday.
Caltrans expects it will take another six weeks to reopen the route at that location.
The agency has not said when travelers will be able to go all the way to Big Sur and beyond.
“The full road closure of Highway 1 through Paul’s Slide is expected to be long term,” Bertola said in the release.
“Drone imagery suggests that this winter’s storms created a large landslide within an even larger magnitude slide” about 22 miles north of the county line, she said.
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