Local

Reopening the way to Big Sur: Road to be built over Mud Creek slide

Wildflowers underscore the Pacific coast at Big Sur in this undated photo.
Wildflowers underscore the Pacific coast at Big Sur in this undated photo.
AP

California officials say they'll build a road over a massive Central Coast landslide that closed the scenic coastal highway leading to Big Sur.

The Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that spanning the Mud Creek site will be a faster and cheaper way of reopening Highway 1, compared to boring a tunnel or sidestepping the slide area.

Caltrans's Jim Shivers told KPCC that an open and safe highway system, including Highway 1, is central to the regional economy.

"We do understand that this highway is directly tied not only to the Big Sur economy, but it's tied to the economies in the Bay Area and Southern California as tourists move from one place to another," Shivers said.

A quarter-mile of Highway 1 was buried in May when more than 1 million tons of rock and earth slipped down a slope saturated by winter storms. Caltrans says the replacement road will be realigned across the slide and buttressed with embankments, berms, rocks and other supports.

Caltrans has said it may take a year to reopen the route. A timetable and cost estimate will be announced later this month.