Big Sur bridge set to reopen just months after demolition

Rendering of the new Pheiffer Canyon Bridge. Credit: Caltrans

A Big Sur-area bridge that was damaged by heavy rain and landslides last winter is set to reopen this coming Friday the 13th.

The California Department of Transportation completed the $24 million project in record time.

“We did seven years of work in about seven months,” Caltrans spokesperson Jim Shivers told the Mercury News. “It’s pretty remarkable what work has been done here, it’s really amazing.”

Last February, falling trees, and a shifting foundation caused severe cracking to the integrity of the structure, forcing engineers to demolish the bridge in March.

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The failure of the bridge left businesses cut-off from the outside world and prevented tourists from traveling much of the beautiful California coastal highway.

After the bridge opening, Highway 1 in Monterey County will provide 35 additional miles of Hwy. 1 for travelers to Gorda.

While the new Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge is a mammoth accomplishment, Highway 1 remains blocked some 30 miles to the south by another slide a quarter-mile long.

Highway 1 closings Big Sur
Credit: Caltrans

The Mud Creek slide forces Hwy. 1 to close from north of Salmon Creek, just south of the Ranger Station to just south of Gorda.

Mud Creek had a significant slide on May 20, 2017, dumping over 5 million cubic yards of material on the existing road. Caltrans continues with its plan to realign the current terrain.

Mud Creek Slide California Big Sur
Mud Creek Slide. Credit Monterey County Sheriff’s Office

A new road is under construction atop the Mud Creek slide area at the cost of $40 million. It’s estimated that it will open in mid-2018.

All businesses and campgrounds north of Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge are open except Andrew Molera State Park and Garrapata State Park.

Andrew Molera State Park is open to day use hiking west of Highway 1.

Garrapata State Park is open to hiking west of Highway 1.

You can download a PDF road map for better viewing.

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