Trapped motorists escorted out following Highway 1 collapse

April 2, 2024


Convoys on Monday escorted people trapped after a landslide led to the closure of a 40-mile stretch of Highway 1 near Big Sur.

On Saturday, approximately 1,600 tourist and workers were trapped after heavy rains led to a partial collapse of the highway near Rocky Creek Bridge about 17 miles south of Monterey. While some visitors sought lodging others slept in their cars.

State Parks has temporarily closed all parks in the Big Sur area, including Point Sur, Pfeiffer Big Sur, Julia Pfeiffer Burns, Andrew Molera, and Limekiln.

Crews are working to repair the road and make its safe for convoys, which will continue for weeks. There is not yet an estimated time the highway will reopen.


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Big Sur residents don’t want them there anyhow. Tourists are an unwelcome nuisance.

Nuisance? Tourists? Would that be similar to the nuisance that Highway 1 becomes almost every year when giant swaths of the roadway succumb to water and gravity, cascading downslope to become one with the Pacific Ocean? Or kind of like the giant financial nuisance that Hwy 1 becomes for California taxpayers when many multiple millions of dollars are expended yearly to rebuild the road so it can repeat the cascading/slip-sliding/surrendering to gravity thing upon the return of next Winter’s rain? Or perhaps more of a scary dangerous nuisance like for contractors and Cal Trans heavy equipment operators who risk their lives carving and shaping enormous mountain slopes while nervously trying not to become one with the Pacific Ocean or to be schmushed by ginormous boulders?

After the hundreds of millions of dollars spent, millions of cubic yards of earth moved, and the lives lost over the decades in the Sisyphean task of repairing Hwy 1, I’m frankly surprised the bosses in Sacramento haven’t given up on America’s Most Scenic Highway. I’m surprised the Sierra Club hasn’t joined forces with the Coastal Commission to persuade the governor to make the entire stretch of Big Sur Coastline an uber-environmental wilderness utopia sanctuary for climate change – no cars allowed and with Hwy 1 getting downgraded to a very fancy hiking trail. Of course, that would be rather problematic and inconvenient to the few, wealthy, elite Big Sur residents. What do you want to bet some of those homes and vacation cabins perched high on the ridges or tucked into the forests belong to people who work at the Sierra Club, Coastal Commission or in Sacramento? Maybe they have connections with the decision makers in the state capitol and use their influence to ensure the road gets repaired and re-opened every year. Then again, perhaps the real influence and most persuasive (financial) impact that justifies keeping the road repaired and open lies with all of those “unwelcome nuisance tourists” who want to travel America’s Most Scenic Highway and live the Big Sur experience even for just a short while because it’s on their Bucket List and they will never be able to count themselves among the privileged few Big Sur residents. Those lucky few Big Sur residents who benefit from having their landslide-plagued scenic highway maintained for them by all the others that visit (or haven’t) but will never be regarded as their Big Sur neighbors.

Not true… I lived there for 8 years and the people there love tourists because that’s their only means of income for the infrastructure… as well as the many small businesses and motels and eateries….