A California Department of Transportation spokesperson called it the biggest landslide in the state’s recorded history and “one of a kind.”
Which meant that it was a one of a kind headache for the state agencies in charge of figuring out how to get the road open once again. In June, the San Jose Mercury News even speculated that maybe it’s time to just give up on Highway One altogether.
But Caltrans announced a startlingly straightforward solution on Tuesday: simply building a new road straight over the slide section. According to the department’s press release:
A new roadway will traverse over the site of the massive Mud Creek slide. The new roadway will be realigned across the landslide and will be buttressed with a series of embankments, berms, rocks, netting, culverts and other stabilizing material according to department engineers and geologists.
[...] This strategy will allow Caltrans to rebuild the roadway more quickly and at a lower cost than other alternatives such as structures, a tunnel or major earthwork that places additional fill into the ocean.
There’s no timeline or budget estimate yet, but the department hopes to have one by the end of the month.
Meanwhile, KSBY reports that construction began this week on the new Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge nearby, after the previous structure collapsed during winter storms earlier this year.
The new span should hopefully be up and running (or, more properly, up and staying put) by early 2018.
- Mud Creek Plan [Caltrans]
- Mother Of All Landslides Closes highway [NPR]
- Is Highway One Worth Saving? [Mercury]
- Engineers Assembling Canyon Bridge [KSBY]
- Big Sur landslide on Highway 1: Satellite photos before and after [Curbed SF]
- Big Sur landslide on Highway 1: largest in California state history [Curbed SF]
- Massive mudslide near Big Sur closes California State Route 1 [Curbed SF]
- They're Just Going To Build A Road On Top Of That Big Sur Landslide [SFist]