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Caltrans scrambles to make repairs on Highway 1 slip-out before pausing some work due to wind

BIG SUR, Calif. (KION-TV) -- Weather is creating a challenge for crews trying to repair a portion of Highway 1 along the Big Sur coast.

Construction was paused last week because of gusty winds and it could happen again over the next few days.

Caltrans is stabilizing the road now and expects work to be done by May 27th.

A spokesperson for the agency explains how the process works.

"If you put your hands together, and turn them easily, that would be the earth that wants to move in that location. But if you put if you put toothpicks between these fingers, they would be harder to turn. They'd have to break a toothpick," explained Caltrans spokesperson, Kevin Drabinski. "In essence, that's what these rock dowels are doing. They're providing a rigid structure in the rock below the roadway to keep it from moving."

Because crews are in a basket supported by a crane, they need to keep a close eye on the forecast because rain or winds up to 25 mph could put them in danger.

"Last weekend we had to suspend the, the, the the crew hanging in the basket over the edge of the roadway," said Drabinski. "We also look in the forecast that the National Weather Service gives us, and it looks like in the next couple of days, we might likely lose production and repair time due to excessive winds in the area."

The Big Sur Chamber says since the closure, over 800 employees have been out of jobs, and only around six businesses remain open.

Every day the road is closed, the chamber says millions of dollars are lost in Big Sur.

"Approaching summer and the late spring period, we are really up against just a greater lost opportunity until the highway is again reopened," said Kirk Gafill, owner of Nepenthe.

After phase one is complete, that's when operations will inch a bit closer to normalcy.

Signalized one-way traffic could begin according to Caltrans.

"We look forward to being able to serve our guests and our staff and our businesses really rely on that support," said Gafill.

Staff with the marathon have been working endlessly to find a way to keep the marathon going since it usually passes through where the road is closed. Half of the proceeds from the marathon go directly to Big Sur non-profits.

Because of the marathon, convoy times will change in the morning on Sunday to 4 am instead of 7 am.

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Dania Romero

Dania Romero is an reporter at KION News Channel 46.


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