Landslide Strands Tourists in Big Sur

A segment of California’s famous Highway 1 collapsed, leaving the area completely cut off for a day and the southbound lane of the road still closed.

1 minute read

April 3, 2024, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Highway 1 on norhtern California coast.

Highway 1, known as the Pacific Coast Highway, near Big Sur, California. | Chuck / Adobe Stock

 Roughly 1,600 people were stranded on California’s Big Sur coast when a segment of Highway 1, a road originally built in the 1930s that hugs the scenic coast, collapsed, cutting off the hamlet from the rest of the state.

According to a Los Angeles Times article by Jireh Deng and Thomas Curwen, “Officials discovered a slip-out on the southbound lane early Saturday evening and quickly closed the road to further vehicle travel to assess damage.”

Residents of the isolated coastal community are used to occasional landslides. “But the afternoon closure of Highway 1 at Rocky Creek Bridge — on a critical stretch connecting Big Sur with Carmel-By-the-Sea — caught visitors and businesses by surprise.”

Caltrans began escorting cars on the northbound lane on Sunday. “This weekend, officials are planning to install a 500-foot concrete barrier down the center line of the road to make an isolated channel for motorists, according to Kevin Drabinski, spokesperson for Caltrans District 5.”

Some residents believe the area needs another access point as coastal erosion and landslides become more common.

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