MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Construction is underway along the iconic Highway 1 at Rat Creek. January's heavy rainstorm was no match for the burn scared hills along the Big Sur Coast. Inches of water overran the Rat Creek drainage system, taking out trees, boulders and a section of the highway.
Just days after the storm, a $5 million emergency contract went into effect, allowing crews to remove the vast majority of litter from the flow area. This week, under an additional $11.5 million contract, workers are beginning to create embankment paths down the flow on both the north and south ends of the damaged road. Once ready, it will be filled from the ocean, up to the height of the existing roadway, then eventually paved.
Kevin Drabinski, Cal Trans District 5 Public Information Officer says, "We're trying to over-engineer to make sure the repairs that we make at this site will be there for generations to come."
Drabinski continued to state that the V-shaped filling will match the natural contour of the canyon; a much faster and cheaper solution compared to that of a bridge. In addition, the emergency contract included adequate drainage systems miles up the road from Rat Creek to help handle any additional debris flow downslope from the Dolan Fire burn area. That work is also ongoing.
As of now, Cal Trans says there is no exact date as to when the Rat Creek road repairs will be complete, but they do hope to have a summer
opening. That is, weather permitting.