Big Sur Highway Opens

By August 13, 2018Interesting Facts

Highway 1 Near Big Sur Opens After Landslide

A portion of Highway 1 near Big Sur that was covered by a landslide reopened July 18, about two months ahead of schedule. The landslide, which hit May 2017, was caused by heavy rains and dropped about 6 million cubic yards of dirt on the roadway, displacing 50 acres of road and creating 16 acres of new California coastline.

The $54-million California Dept. of Transportation project to repair the highway at a location called Mud Creek was led by San Luis Obispo, Calif.-based John Madonna Construction Co. The company’s CEO, John Madonna, said his crew worked seven days a week and 12 hours a day to shave time off the job. To repair the damaged roadway, crews created a foundation with 200,000 tons of riprap to maintain the newly created land so that Highway 1 can now cross what used to be the Pacific Ocean.

“Rather than trucking or pushing millions more cubic yards of soil into the ocean, a new roadway alignment was created across the ball cap-shaped landslide,” said Madonna. Crews also enhanced the upper catchment area using wire gravity walls designed by Hilfiker.

To prevent injury from falling debris, ground-based radar systems were used to monitor and evaluate movement on the mountain 24 hours a day. Workers evaluated reports produced every morning at 5:30, before work started. Aerial and satellite monitoring, including lidar, was used and they continuously operated total robotic station to monitor dozens of prisms placed on the mountain, and drones were used to create a high-resolution 3-D graphic.”

With the reopening of Highway 1, commuters can drive straight between Carmel and San Luis Obispo without hitting a roadblock at Mud Creek, which led to numerous detours and delays during the closure.