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Chunk Of Highway 1 Falls Into Ocean Near Big Sur

BIG SUR (CBS/AP) — Engineers on Thursday were working to figure out when they’ll be able to reopen a stretch of California coastal highway that collapsed into the ocean, blocking traffic to the scenic Big Sur region.

A 40-foot section of Highway 1 crumbled just after 5 p.m. Wednesday following several days of rainy weather. The entire southbound lane is gone, and the soil under the northbound lane also was giving way.

No one was injured in the slide, the California Highway Patrol said. Authorities have closed the two-lane road to traffic indefinitely.

The collapse occurred south of Carmel near Rocky Creek Bridge, one of the iconic arch bridges that make the stretch of roadway one of the country’s best known scenic drives.

California Department of Transportation officials told The Monterey Herald they would know closer to the end of Thursday when the road would be reopened.

The closure comes as spring tourist season is about to get under way.

“There is too much going down here to allow an extended closure,” Alan Perlmutter told the newspaper. Perlmutter is a partner in the Big Sur River Inn, one of the many inns and lodges that depend on the dollars of tourists drawn to dramatic coastal vistas, where forested mountainsides plunge into blue seas.

Other inns and restaurants reported a mix of no-shows and guests who were forced to stay longer because of the blocked road.

The best alternate route to Big Sur from the north would require drivers to take Highway 101 inland through the Salinas Valley and drive over a steep, winding mountain road to the coast, adding at least an hour to the trip.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

  • heroineworshiper

    Good thing we finished that drive back when it used to be sunny.

  • William Patrick Mosely

    The ocean giveth and takes back. That;s the beauty of the Pacific.

  • william

    So take your time and fix it right and take up the extra hour getting there via the detrour route and if you can’t afford an hour or two out of your terribly busy life, then stay home.

  • jennifer lewison

    And are we really surprised this happened ..dumb people really need to think were they are buildiing.mother nature does not care.and as i can see niether do we.are we all that ignorant!

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