Local

Damaged Big Sur bridge to be demolished, replaced

A bridge on Highway 1 in Big Sur has been damaged beyond repair, cutting off the main artery through the Central Coast community.
A bridge on Highway 1 in Big Sur has been damaged beyond repair, cutting off the main artery through the Central Coast community.
Stan Russell

A giant wrecking ball will soon slam into one of California's most scenic bridges.

The Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Big Sur was damaged beyond repair after being pounded by storms in a record-setting winter. Landslides caused structural fractures that made it unsafe to use.

It is the latest infrastructure casualty caused by an unprecedented 27.81 inches of precipitation in California since the Oct. 1.

Residents and businesses will be impacted as access within one of California’s most iconic areas is constrained.

The bridge connects different parts of Big Sur. Its destruction divides the community in half.

The bridge was closed Feb. 12 after a local resident discovered cracks while walking on a trail under the bridge a day before.

Tourism, the life-blood of the community, has stopped and businesses have shut down.

Stan Russell, from the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce told KPCC’s Take Two that the impact has been “catastrophic.”

“But when you measure it against the things that really matter: Nobody has died,” Russell said.  “Everybody has gotten out alive, and we hope to maintain that.”

Caltrans began demolition Monday and expects to complete building a replacement within a year.