Paul's Slide on Highway 1 near Big Sur opens on Sunday

BIG SUR – Highway 1 at Paul's Slide is scheduled to reopen Sunday, based on Caltrans, attributing the earlier-than-expected completion to favorable site conditions and up to date construction progress, allowing access for the community of Lucia, Camaldoli Hermitage and residents along the newly opened 4.3-mile stretch of highway.

“The challenge with Paul's Slide has always been to repair Highway 1 while movement continues within the landslide site,” Caltrans Director Tony Tavares said in a news release. “Completing the repairs and reopening a 4.3-mile section of this scenic highway will begin to restore some normalcy for business owners and residents in the area.”

On June 7, 4 months after the repairs began, the Dolan Point side (from mile 29.5) was accomplished, however the turnaround point for southbound traffic won’t change.

“After repairs to the Dolan Point Slide are completed, the turnaround point for southbound traffic on Highway 1 at Lime Creek – after mile 32.1 – will remain in place until repairs to the Regent's Slide are completed,” said Kevin Drabinski, Caltrans District 5 spokesman. “The north turnaround point at Lime Creek is a good option as a turnaround point because it provides a good line of sight on approach and provides ample room for large vehicles to turn around.”

Repair work at Dolan Point included removing landslide material from above and reducing rock using blasting crews, followed by installing a double twisted rope mesh along the slope edge.

“Crews connected the seams of dozens of 150-foot-long mesh panels that were lifted into place by helicopter. This mesh will add an additional layer of protection to the highway below the slope,” Drabinski explained.

With Paul's Slide (at mile 22) now open, traffic from the south can travel as far north as repairs to Regent's Slide (at mile 27.8) comfortably allow. The southern turnaround point on Highway 1 shall be moved north from Limekiln State Park (at mile 21) to simply south of the Vicente Creek Bridge (at mile 25.3), where travelers can have a transparent view of the approach and ample room for giant vehicles to maneuver and switch.

After Paul's Slide reopens, crews shall be on site over the following few weeks to remove additional landslide material, complete drainage installation, and implement erosion control measures. Travelers will experience minimal delays and intermittent traffic controls during this work.

The contractor for the repairs to Paul's Slide is Papich Construction of Arroyo Grande, based on Caltrans. The total cost of this project is about $60 million.

Repairs to the ultimate Highway 1 closure will proceed at Regent's Slide, where the northern turnaround point is positioned at Lime Creek, south of the Esalen Institute. Caltrans estimates that repairs at Regent's Slide shall be accomplished by late fall, at which point Highway 1 shall be reopened to direct traffic along your complete stretch of the Big Sur coast between Carmel and Cambria.

Tavares thanked the area people for his or her patience and support through the repair of Paul's Slide. He said the state agency also wanted to precise its appreciation for the persistence, ingenuity and determination shown by Caltrans personnel and contract crews during this process.

Road information and updates may also be found on Caltrans District 5's social media platforms: Twitter at: @CaltransD5, Facebook at: Caltrans Central Coast (District 5), and Instagram at: Caltrans_D5.

(Graphic courtesy of Caltrans)
(Graphic courtesy of Caltrans)

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