SAN CLEMENTE : El Camino Real Reopens With Rush

To the delight of motorists and local merchants, El Camino Real was reopened Thursday, two weeks earlier than originally scheduled.

Working six days a week, 12 hours a day, work crews have torn down a substantial portion of the cliffs that once threatened to collapse over the coastal highway. The bluffs that once stood 75 feet tall have been carved to 25 feet along several stretches of the 1,800-foot section of highway.

Although more work remains before the massive excavation project is completed, city officials opened two lanes of the highway to cars and bicycle traffic.

The opening was a cause for celebration among the city’s small businesses. Many shop owners claimed losses of up to 80% of their business during the closure.


El Camino Real was originally closed for five weeks starting Feb. 5, after a city work crew noticed that erosion had caused huge outcroppings of rock and earth to hang precariously over the busy highway.