Rains Wash Away Part of California’s Iconic Highway 1 Near Big Sur, Stranding Tourists

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Spring rains washed away part of California’s famous Highway 1 near Big Sur on Saturday, stranding 1,600 people who had to be moved past the collapsed portion in convoys.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported:

Engineers with the California Department of Transportation were assessing the slip-out that forced the closure of Highway 1 south of the Rocky Creek Bridge at Palo Colorado on Saturday, the state agency said Sunday. An estimated 1,600 residents and visitors were stranded after parts of the southbound lane collapsed. The rain was coming down at a rate of 2 inches per hour at one point, according to the National Weather service.

According to Caltrans spokesperson Kevin Drabinski, the slide did not continue to erode after the initial slip-out, and the northbound roadway remained clear. As a result, convoys through the closed area of Highway 1 were offered twice daily starting Sunday.

When the convoy first opened, around noon, an estimated 300 cars were waiting to travel northbound. It took 50 minutes to clear out all the waiting vehicles. This presumably included Easter weekend visitors to Big Sur who were stranded by the closure and had to spend the night in temporary lodging and emergency shelters. The convoys were alternating direction and were to continue at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. in both directions, starting Monday.

Highway 1 has been damaged by winter and spring storms before. Three years ago, as Breitbart News reported at the time, a portion of the road near Big Sur was washed away. In 2017, during a particularly rainy winter, a landslide on the road caused residents of local communities to be stranded, and the repairs took 14 months to complete.

California is vulnerable to coastal erosion due to the relatively young layers of sedimentary rock that make up the coastline.

The 2023-2024 winter has been the third-wettest winter in parts of California since records began nearly 80 years ago. The rains and snow followed an exceptionally snowy 2022-2023 winter, which broke a five-year drought.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, “The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency,” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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