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Mar-17-2011 02:11TweetFollow @OregonNews
Section of Highway One Near Big Sur Crashes Into Pacific OceanTim King Salem-News.com
Big Sur businesses will remain OPEN.
(BIG SUR, Calif.) - Big Sur residents and other travelers are fortunate today after a section of Highway 1 tumbled 200 feet straight down to the beach below.
Locals are in no way unfamiliar with weather and erosion challenges in this part of California, but this event could have been tragic, fortunately it was not.
Drivers interviewed by television reporters after the road was closed around 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, talked about having noticed large cracks in the road surface earlier in the day.
They did not realize they were passing over road that was slowly but surely letting go, with large boulders and dirt from the vertical cliff adjacent to the highway crashing down out of sight from above.
Both north and south bound lanes are closed as a result of the 40-foot section of Highway 1 that gave way and fell into the Pacific Ocean near Hurricane Point, just north of Big Sur.
The highway was closed Wednesday night and Cal Trans officials say it won't be open any time soon.
However, this area has seen serious erosion problems in the past, as recently as the late 1990's.
As dramatic as it appears, there is no doubt the windy road will again resume its role as one of California's most scenic and interesting stretches of highway in existence.
Big Sur is known for fantastic restaurants set in mind blowing oceanview, often clifftop surroundings.
This, in addition to great waves with small crowds, amazing art, super potent pot, and some of the nicest people I've ever mixed with; open minded soul searchers who who live at their own pace.
A spokesman for Cal Trans says it could be weeks or months before the section of roadway is restored.
Wednesday afternoon, some residents were allowed to walk through the fallen section to reach the other side.
The YouTube user who shot this video tells a story that was shared by many Wednesday; they all ended having to take a long drive around the affected highway.
They were stopped by a road worker and told they would have to turn around because of the whole road having fallen into ocean.
"...that road started to crack and just gave way and the end result was this the video speaks for itself. No way in- or way out. We had to turn around and if we needed to get through, we had to go around which is about 3 hour drive."
But that is to be expected any time something like this happens.
A Big Sur, California Facebook page operated by the local chamber of commerce, makes it clear that Big Sur is open for business:
"To be very clear, Big Sur businesses will remain OPEN. You need to come from the southern entrance at San Simeon or over Nacimiento-Fergusson road."
According to a report by <KION Central Coast News, this part of Highway 1 could be closed for several months.
"Central Coast News reporter Susanne Brunner said at least 120 feet of the road, just south of Hurricane Point, slid into the ocean. She described the scene as 'crazy.' The drop is between 200-300 feet. CHP said it has no idea what caused the massive slide, but erosion could be to blame," KION reported today.
Their Chief Meteorologist Norm Hoffmann, says the area has not seen an unusual amount of rain lately, but this could have built up over an extended period of time.
So, until further notice, Highway One is completely closed between Bixby Bridge and Palo Colorado. The slide created serious issues for people on the road. They were forced to leave their cars and walk to safety.
The information below is from: KION Central Coast News. Visit their site to learn more.
Because of the location, there's no easy detour. From the north, you'll need to take Highway 68 over to Salinas, then headdown Highway 101 South and cut over on Route 46 and then head back up Highway 1 north. From the south, go Route 46 to Highway 101 North and then over to the Monterey area on Highway 68 before heading south again on Highway 1.
Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer
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