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New Big Sur bridge on Highway 1 to open soon, but iconic roadway remains shut farther south

New Big Sur bridge on Highway 1 to open soon, but iconic roadway remains shut farther south
Crews work on abutment reinforcement for the replacement of the Pfeiffer Creek Bridge on Highway 1 in Big Sur. (Caltrans)

The long-awaited replacement for Highway 1's Pfeiffer Creek Bridge in Big Sur is slated to open Oct. 13, according to a Caltrans news release. It's good news for travelers who will be able to drive from Carmel to Big Sur and beyond on Highway 1. However, California's iconic coastal route remains blocked by a landslide near the town of Gorda, about 57 miles south of Big Sur.

The original bridge was closed Feb. 15 after heavy winter rains caused its hillside supports to buckle and fail. Crews demolished the bridge in March and have been working on its replacement ever since. Cement for the bridge surface was poured Sept. 22 and 23.

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Loss of the bridge cut the town of Big Sur in two, leaving a gap right around Big Sur Station. Since then, locals and some visitors have been using a short but steep footpath called The Community Bypass Trail and a shuttle to visit places such as the landmark restaurant Nepenthe.

When will all of Highway 1 be open? Not for a while.

Fixing the massive landslide at Mud Creek that covered the road near Gorda is expected to cost $40 million. The slide rained 5 million cubic yards of rocks and debris on a third of a mile of the state highway on May 20. Caltrans estimates the road will be repaired and open in summer of 2018.

Also, 12 miles north of the Mud Creek slide, the road reopened in July at another slide point to one-way reversing traffic.

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