California Coastal Freeway to Reopen Before Memorial Day, Says Governor

California Coastal Freeway to Reopen Before Memorial Day, Says Governor

An engineer assesses a break in a southbound lane of Highway 1 at Rocky Creek Bridge in Big Sur, Calif., on April 1, 2024. (Nic Coury/AP)

Jill McLaughlin
Jill McLaughlin


Updated: 5/6/2024


California’s historic Pacific Coast Highway that skirts the state’s picturesque coastline is set to reopen Memorial Day Weekend May 25 after winter storms damaged the roadway.
A stretch of the roadway—also called Highway 1—near Big Sur along the central coast was shut down when one of its two lanes collapsed into the ocean after heavy rains last month.
Residents in the region were warned to evacuate before the closure, especially if they had medical issues.
“Storms in March caused significant damage to critical parts of our transportation infrastructure—impacting not only traffic for our communities, but also hurting small businesses and workers,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a release May 3.
State highway workers are completing repairs “as safely and quickly as possible,” he added.
Mr. Newsom signed a state of emergency proclamation during the storm that helped the state get federal funding for storm-damaged communities.
Since then, road crews have worked to stabilize and repair the section while convoys escorted vehicles through the northbound lane twice a day.
The stabilization project is a temporary repair but will allow the state to resume unrestricted traffic through the area until a permanent fix can be designed and built to restore the southbound lane.
Once the roadway reopens, crews will install a temporary signal and open the highway to unrestricted traffic under alternating one-way traffic control, according to the governor’s office.
Many other roadways in the state reported serious damage during the series of winter storms this year, including the Topanga Canyon Boulevard on State Route 27.
That route between Grand View Drive and Pacific Coast Highway was closed at the end of March after rockslides washed into the roadway during heavy rainstorms.
“This debris continues to dangerously shift as it blocks both lanes of traffic and the route remains closed between Pacific Coast Highway and the town of Topanga,” the governor’s office said in a news release May 3. “As a result of this closure, the community of Topanga has faced hours-long detours and a loss of revenue to local businesses.”

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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