Sections of Highway 1 are slated to reopen as Caltrans completes road repairs following a series of landslides near Big Sur.
The scenic highway has been closed from just south of Ragged Point in San Luis Obispo County to Lime Creek in Monterey County for weeks.
Highway 1 will open to the public at Polar Star, located about a mile south of Ragged Point, on Feb. 12, weather permitting, Caltrans District 5 spokesperson Kevin Drabinski wrote in a news release Wednesday.
Once that happens, travelers will be able to continue north to just before the Mill Creek Slide, located about 18 miles north of the border between Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties, according to Caltrans.
“As work progresses there in the coming weeks, Caltrans will be looking for opportunities to allow convoys through at Mill Creek,” Drabinski said in the release.
Meanwhile, Caltrans is scheduled to reopen Highway 1 on Friday between the north gate at Paul’s Slide, about 22 miles north of the border line, and the current closure at Lime Creek.
“Signs at southbound Highway 1 at Lime Creek will alert travelers that the road is closed except for travel by locals,” Drabinski said.
It’s “unknown at this time” how soon drivers will be able to go all the way from San Simeon to Big Sur, Drabinski said.
The highway has been closed 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 continued to make good progress on slide removal and drainage restoration efforts at Polar Star,” Drabinski said.
Meanwhile, Caltrans has encountered “challenging conditions” at the Mill Creek site, Drabinski said.
“The steep slope of the slide and the saturated soil have slowed progress significantly,” he said, adding that three spider excavators are being deployed to remove slide removal at Mill Creek. “As slope conditions permit, other heavy equipment will be deployed to accelerate debris removal.”
The current estimate for reopening the Mill Creek closure area is six weeks, Drabinski said.
Meanwhile, traffic will be subject to one-way reversing traffic control less than a mile beyond the Monterey County line.
As of Thursday morning, the southern end of the Highway 1 closure remained at the elephant seal viewing area, four miles north of San Simeon.
“That location was selected,” Drabinksi said,” because “it provides an opportunity for large vehicles to turn around, an opportunity that is largely unavailable north of that location.”