Massive slide buries stretch of iconic California highway

But another massive landslide hit Highway 1 this past weekend, cutting off access even more.

The landslide spans about a third of a mile and has heaped up to 40ft (12m) of debris on the road.

There were no injuries or damage reported, officials said.

The highway is the main artery that runs through Big Sur, an iconic and scenic attraction known for its rugged coastlines and mountain views.

The California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) took these photographs of a massive mudslide that covered this section of State Route 1 Saturday night.

Kirk Gafill, president of the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce and owner of the historic Nepenthe Restaurant, said the landslide may be a blessing in disguise as it has potential to stable the land the Caltrans was looking forward to shoring up.

But Saturday's slide at Mud Creek was the largest by far, and authorities said they don't know when it can be cleared.

The state already had closed that part of Highway 1 to fix buckled pavement and other, earlier damage from one of California's rainiest winters in decades. "We have geologists and engineers who are going to check it out this week to see how do we pick up the pieces".

The California Department of Transport estimated that weather-related damages on state highways since January to be more than $1 billion. "A lot of Big Sur is moving; you just don't see it".

"If it's not the biggest, it's certainly right up there", the 55-year-old said.

This winter has been particularly rough for Big Sur, state transportation spokesman Colin Jones said. A new bridge might not be finished until September, Shivers said.

"I think it's safe to say it will be several months before it reopens", Jones said by phone.

The highway is now closed, as the mudslide has left a quarter-mile of the road buried and the surrounding area unstable.

  • Larry Hoffman