Rain is on the way to California. What does it mean for the Hwy. 1 closure in Big Sur?

With rain on the way to the Central Coast this week, there’s still no end in sight for the closure of Highway 1 on the Big Sur coast, Caltrans said Tuesday.

The spot near the Paul’s Slide site in Monterey County has been closed since the series of storms last year that caused the hillside to collapse onto the roadway, and now California’s next rainy season is beginning.

That’s led Caltrans to take a conservative, wait-and-see approach when it comes to predicting when the highway might reopen, as it continues working on repairs seven days a week.

“Due to dynamic conditions at the repair site as well as anticipated impacts associated with inclement weather in the upcoming months, there is no estimated time for full reopening of Highway 1 at Paul’s Slide at this time,” Caltrans said in a news release on Tuesday.

Crews continue to build up the elevation of the south end of Paul’s Slide on Highway 1 to Big Sur for what will be the new course of the roadway after winter storms cause the hillside to collapse. Caltrans shared this photo on Nov. 14, 2023.
Crews continue to build up the elevation of the south end of Paul’s Slide on Highway 1 to Big Sur for what will be the new course of the roadway after winter storms cause the hillside to collapse. Caltrans shared this photo on Nov. 14, 2023.

The highway remains closed to vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic for 1.5 miles from Limekiln State Park to the south and .6 miles south of the town of Lucia to the north.

The elevation of the south end of Paul’s Slide is being built up to support what will be the new course of the roadway, the agency said. The repair design calls for Highway 1 to move slightly inland and be elevated at the southern approach.

The repair will also increase the catchment area on the inland side of the highway, Caltrans said. It will be separated from the roadway by concrete barriers and fencing.

Geotech and hydrological engineers have completed the drainage design for the repairs. The repairs are designed to capture water and debris and convey it below the roadway.