Rain to cancel convoys for stranded tourists, locals after Hwy 1 road collapse in Monterey Co.

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Thursday, April 4, 2024
Rain cancels convoys at Hwy 1 road collapse: Here's what to know
Expected rain will halt convoys Thursday and Friday across a crumbled portion of Highway 1 near Big Sur in Monterey County.

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Expected rain will halt convoys across a crumbled portion of Highway 1 near Big Sur in Monterey County.

The collapse or slip-out as Caltrans calls it, happened Saturday just south of the Rocky Creek Bridge.

It led to many tourists being stranded overnight, eventually being led out by convoys.

Since then locals have been relying on those convoys two times a day, to get in and out but now, even that lifeline will be severed for at least Thursday and Friday.

The hope is that weather permitting, the convoys can resume on Saturday.

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Because of the weather and halted convoys, the Monterey County Sheriff's Office has issued an evacuation warning for areas of the Big Sur Community south of the slip out.

An impact not just to residents, but also businesses.

"If we're only looking at a two-day suspension, basic residential life is fairly, it's inconvenient, but it's pretty manageable for most residents," said Kirk Gafill, president of the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce.

The bulk of the long term impacts he said, will be to businesses and their workforce.

"Probably 75% to 80% of our workforce is going to be on very reduced if not eliminated hours," Gafill said. "The economic damages are likely to be in excess of a million dollars a day with each and every day that this closure continues."

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In a briefing Wednesday, Caltrans said it's likely that the slip out was caused by saturated ground from recent storms.

They've been able to add some width to the unaffected northbound lane, but right now there's still no official timeline on repairs.

Caltrans said they are working on managing the risk while also working on temporary and long term stabilization of the area.

"It looks as if it has not advanced anymore from its original state, which is a good sign," said Caltrans spokesperson Kevin Drabinski.

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As far as work to prevent future, similar issues along Highway 1, Caltrans said all they can do is keep a close eye on the road.

"We respond to events as they happen," said Kelly McClain with Caltrans, "So we're not necessarily going out and looking to fortify the entire stretch of the Big Sur coast."

Though grateful for the repair efforts, the business community is entering what is normally a busy season, holding on tightly to any hope that they can start welcoming visitors again soon.

"It's just absolutely essential that, that single lane be made open to the public," Gafill said, "At the earliest opportunity so the businesses can reopen and employees can be back at work."

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