Highway 1 stabilization work continue in Big Sur

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California Construction News staff writer

Work continues to stabilize Highway 1 in Big Sur after a section of the southbound lane along the cliff collapsed into the Pacific Ocean March 30 during a rainstorm.

Federal geologists blame the latest collapse on a common rockfall caused by weather, waves and gravity that eventually cracked the steep cliffside beneath the roadway, according to a new analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey.

A separate stretch of Highway 1 — about 40 miles south — has been closed since January 2023, after a series of damaging landslides.

Roadway stabilization work at Rocky Creek is now expected to be completed by Memorial Day – May 27, allowing for installation of temporary signal system and 24/7 alternating one-way traffic control. Crews were recently installing stabilizing anchors.

“We know how important Highway 1 is to the regional economy, especially during the summer so we are working to reopen the roadway as quickly and safely as possible while at the same time making it more resilient to future extreme weather events,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares.

Since a March 30 slip-out, Caltrans has conducted geotechnical assessments, widened and improved drainage in the northbound shoulder area, placed concrete barriers along the centerline to channelize convoy passage and hired a contractor to drill, install and grout vertical rock dowels through the southbound lane pavement adjacent to the existing west edge of the roadway.

Contractors recently started work on a longer phase of work will see crews drill, install and grout horizontal rock dowels before installing reinforced shotcrete to the vertical face of the repair.

Installing horizontal rock dowels requires a crane to hold a basket with workers over the edge of the roadway. Winds cannot exceed 25 mph for these activities, according to Caltrans.

A concrete wall along the road’s center line to increase one-lane traffic safety, and they have improved drainage in the area, according to the agency.

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