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Big Sur road coming back: Highway 1, closed for a year and a half because of massive slide, to reopen by July 20

Big Sur road coming back: Highway 1, closed for a year and a half because of massive slide, to reopen by July 20
A view of Highway 1 at the Mud Creek landslide closure taken Monday. The road is expected to reopen by July 20. (Caltrans)

Travelers soon will be able to do something they haven’t in a year and a half: drive the 650-plus miles of California’s Highway 1 between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Caltrans announced Tuesday that full access to the blocked area south of Gorda would reopen by 11 a.m. July 20. The new stretch of road could open to traffic a few days sooner, depending on when work is completed, according to Caltrans.

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The Mud Creek Slide, which rained debris in one of the state’s largest landslides, destroyed a quarter-mile section of roadway on May 20, 2017.

The road will be open to traffic in both directions, meaning there’s still time to take an uninterrupted summer road trip along the Big Sur coast.

Last year, heavy rains led to slides and debris flow that wiped out a bridge and closed several points on Highway 1, including Paul’s Slide, roughly at Post Mile 21. The road is now open with a single lane and a traffic signal to direct drivers, which may cause some slowing.

“You wait at a signal and look out at the ocean,” Caltrans spokesman Colin Jones said Tuesday. “And you think, ‘I don’t mind being here.’ ”

Construction crews worked round the clock seven days a week to complete the $54-million emergency repairs. They built new roadway across the slide, fortifying with embankments and other support features such as berms, rocks, netting and other materials.

The initial reopening date was expected to be mid-September.

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