Convoys helping to move stranded travelers after Highway 1 landslide near Big Sur

A coastal roadway has a chunk of asphalt missing. In the background is ocean, mountains and a blue sky with clouds.
A damaged section of Highway 1 can be seen Sunday south of Rocky Creek Bridge in Big Sur.
(California Department of Transportation)

Monterey County officials on Sunday began organizing convoys to lead scores of stuck tourists and residents along a stretch of Highway 1 near Big Sur that crumbled into the sea in a landslide.

About 1,600 tourists and locals were reportedly stranded after the landslide Saturday damaged a portion of the southbound lane and forced authorities to shut down a roughly 1.4-mile stretch of the famed highway between Big Sur and Carmel-by-the-Sea, according to the California Department of Transportation.

In a news release, Caltrans officials said that, after some early assessments, they determined that travel could resume along the northbound lane “under close supervision.”


Two convoys took place Sunday. More are expected to follow over the next several days, at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

According to the Mercury News, about 300 cars were waiting for Sunday’s first convoy, likely including Easter holiday visitors to Big Sur stuck after the highway’s closure. A number of people slept in their cars while waiting to get home, according to the news outlet.

Officials asked nonessential travelers to stay away from the area. They took the further step of shutting down access to the five state parks in the area, according to a news release: Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Andrew Molera State Park, Limekiln State Park, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Point Sur State Historic Park.

The parks will remain closed “as road conditions allow,” the release said.

“All camping reservations will be canceled, and refunds will be processed,” it said. “An exact timeline on when these parks will reopen depends on road repairs.”

It’s the latest setback for the beloved but volatile highway. The area is still struggling to recover from landslides triggered by last year’s soaking wet winter, which forced the closure of a 12.1-mile section along the Big Sur coastline.


Caltrans announced in late March that it had finished its design plan for repairs at the landslide area known as Regent’s Slide, a massive pile of earth and muck blocking the road near milepost 27.8.

The design still needs to make its way through the approval process, which is expected to take about 30 days, Caltrans said in a statement. Once work begins, the agency said, it will take an estimated 100 days to complete the job and reopen the highway.