Big Sur

Welp, the road was washed out again, this time at Rat Creek.

Trying to figure out how that happened. Presumably there was a culvert under the road to allow the water to pass through. Did it get clogged with debris? Fortunately, no one was hurt, but who knows how long Big Sur will be cut off from the south?

[Sunday-afternoon update]

Yup, as I suspected, the debris flow clogged the culvert.

As I note in comments, this was one of many washouts waiting to happen.

8 thoughts on “Big Sur”

  1. Is the entire state of Calofornia incmpetent?

    This is as much negligence as the Oroville fiasco.

    Or just a way to funnel California Taxpayer money to companies they hire to fix tit…incompetently.

  2. “again” implies this has happened before. If the repair this time is the same as the last time, that is the very definition of insanity.

    Now that we know where the water wants to go, build a bridge over the newly formed valley. Cheap? no Permanent fix? Yes

    1. The coast of California has been moving east for a very long time, this is just the latest evidence and it’s not going to stop west of the real mountains. You can see that the whole slope below the road failed, this wasn’t just a washout. There isn’t anyplace to put the bridge supports that wouldn’t be just as vulnerable to the same thing. The slip could have started up slope just as easily and would have wiped out a structure founded on bedrock if there’s any available. Relocating the whole hiway to the top of the slope and far back of the edge would be the only lasting solution.

      1. MCS and Rand, thanks for educating me. I ‘drove’ along Hwy 1 on Google Maps and, by its very nature as a scenic route its perch on the many hillsides does seem precarious and a problem not easily solved with traditional road construction techniques.

        If I lived in/around Big Sur I’d want a helicopter for just such an emergency.

      2. The top of the slope is a long way up; it would be quite a climb. For a road like this, there is no lasting solution. It involves acceptance that every winter or two, this is going to happen somewhere, and fixing it so it doesn’t happen in that place for another few decades.

        1. That road was a Depression-era WPA project, including the Bixby Creek and Rock Creek bridges. It’s an engineering wonder of the world, but does require more maintenance than most highways. When they do a fix, they try to do it to last longer than the next likely spot; Rat Creek had been waiting to happen for a long time. Cal Trans knows that road really well, and keeps an eye on it, but preventive maintenance would shut down the road as long as a fix, so they just wait until it goes.

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