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Highway 1 in Big Sur area closed over heavy storm warning

Highway 1 in Big Sur area closed over heavy storm warning
The newest part of Highway 1 is the reconstructed roadway at Mud Creek along the Big Sur coast. Now, Caltrans fears heavy rains could damage the newly formed route, which reopened in July. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Heavy rains predicted to hit the Big Sur coast on Wednesday temporarily closed Highway 1 at its most vulnerable slide points. The iconic route will remain closed Thursday with a possible reopening Friday morning after the storm has passed, according to Caltrans.

Drivers saw electronic signs starting at 10 a.m. to advise them of the closure with road gates locked at Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide, both south of Big Sur. The only driving alternative to get around the closed slide areas is to take a long detour inland on Nacimiento-Fergusson Road to the 101 Freeway.

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Caltrans crews will be assessing and cleaning up the roadway when the storm ends. Agency officials are concerned that heavy storms may mean “continued movement” in the newer sections of the road, which will make driving on the route unsafe.

The agency had warned travelers and locals Tuesday that “an expected significant storm” may mean shutting the route after receiving a National Weather Service forecast of heavy rains.

Mud Creek, the site of an enormous slide in May 2017 that shut the road for months, and Paul’s Slide will have gates on either side across the road that will be locked. The slide was so massive that a new road had to be built on top of it. The road reopened to traffic in July.

Travelers can find up-to-date recorded information on California roads by calling Caltrans at (800) 427-7623. Or they can go to the Caltrans website and enter “1” for Highway 1 to check on highway conditions.

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10:15 a.m. Wednesday: This story has been updated with the closure of Highway 1 in two places, and Caltrans predictions on when the road will reopen.

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