Highway 1 near Big Sur reopens after mudslide

BIG SUR, Calif. — The majestic Highway 1 drive along the California coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles has reopened, more than a year after a major mudslide buried the road at Big Sur.

The road reopened on the morning of July 18, two days ahead of schedule, California’s transportation agency announced Wednesday.

The massive May 2017 mudslide at Mud Creek rendered a quarter-mile section of the road impassable to visitors and residents, according to Caltrans.

The $54 million repair job included the construction of a quarter mile of “new roadway alignment built on the slide material and a compacted embankment at the south and north ends,” according to a Caltrans release.

“The roadway is 150 to 260 feet above sea level and buttressed with a series of embankments, berms, rocks, netting, culverts and other stabilizing material.”

The reopening of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in October allowed travelers driving from the north to get to Big Sur, but drivers coming from the south still had to detour inland to avoid the mudslide.

Now travelers from the south can drive Highway 1 to get to the famous Ambrosia Burgers at Nepenthe, visit the Henry Miller Memorial Library and stay at the Ventana Big Sur — or just get a drink on the Ventana’s new terrace. (The luxury resort underwent an 8-month renovation in 2017).

A visit to Big Sur Taphouse offers more than food and drink. For those who want to witness the local community’s resourcefulness, talk to the Taphouse staff about the informally named “Taphouse Trail” created to get out of Big Sur while Highway 1 was closed down.

The one-mile trail through Pfeiffer Canyon can be reached through Pfeiffer State Park.

The official ribbon cutting ceremony for the highway’s reopening will still be held Friday morning at the Ragged Point Inn, but Caltrans officials caution that all the roadwork is still not completely finished at Mud Creek.

There may still be one-way traffic at times, and it will take “about two winters for the new slopes to fully stabilize.”