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Highway 1 closure along Big Sur causing problems for businesses in the area

BIG SUR, CALIF. (KION-TV)- Work is still being carried out to clear the roads for those stuck at home in the southern part of Big Sur.

Caltrans is trying to make sure the roads are safe, yet it's testing the patience of people in the area, according to part owner of Nepenthe Kirk Gafill

“But as time marches on, duration takes on an enormous factor here,” Gafill said.

PIO of Caltrans District 5, Kevin Drabinski, wants people to know they understand the frustration of those stuck in their homes.

“It's heart-rending to hear those stories,” Drabinski said. “We're working as best we can to open the roadway. And then we're looking for the many stakeholders that the county has enjoined to provide essential services for those inside the closure area.”

Not only do these closures affect those in the southern part of Big Sur, but they also appear in the northern part. Nepenthe is one of those businesses that will fill these impacts. 

Gafill explains how much it affects them. 

“About a third of our business is quite significant,” Gafill said. “I mean, it doesn't really allow for most businesses to operate profitably, but certainly enough business to stay open and keep employees working and just keep the oil in the machine going so that when the road does reopens, and conditions improve, you're ready to take advantage of that.”

Although people living in the area are prepared for things like this, it still takes a toll.

“You're depleting your available stocks of resources in a true physical sense, and then emotionally, you're having to really manage your reactions to the situation,” Gafill said.

According to Drabinski, progress has improved more than anticipated.

“We are pleased with the progress we've been able to make at Paul’s Slide,” Drabinski said. “Once we got on top and made progress there, our estimate for the reopening dropped from eight weeks to four weeks.”

Entry from the northern part of Big Sur is still accessible for those visiting the area. Convoys are still used to provide those stuck in the closed areas with essential supplies.

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Karl Cooke

Karl Cooke is a Multimedia Journalist for KION News Channel 46

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