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Southbound Highway 1 now reopen

Caltrans District 5

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION-TV)- Update March 15, 2023, at 8:00 p.m.- Caltrans announced that they reopened Highway 1 Wednesday evening across the Pajaro River.

"A team of structural engineers completed assessments and reported that the bridges there can safely accommodate traffic without restriction," said Caltrans.

The northbound lanes are expected to reopen by Thursday morning.

Caltrans will announce officially when the road is reopened.

"Travelers on Highway 1 can expect delays and lane closures over the course of the next months as crews work to reconstruct eroded embankment material around the bridge supports," said Caltrans.

Highway 1 between Salinas Road and Highway 129 closed in both directions due to ongoing flooding

Update March 14, 2023, at 5:26 p.m.- Caltrans said that as of Tuesday afternoon Highway 1 from Salinas Road one mile south of the Monterey/Santa Cruz County line to Highway 129 (Riverside Drive) in Watsonville will remain closed indefinitely.

Caltrans said water from the Pájaro River breached a levee 4.7 miles upstream of Highway 1 causing flooding and overflowing of the highway on Sunday.

Highway 1 crosses the Pájaro River by means of two bridges, one in the northbound and one in the southbound direction. As they cross the river, the bridges pass over two levee embankments, one to the south on the Monterey County side, and one on the Santa Cruz County side of the river. The Pájaro River flows between these two levee embankments.

Water flow from the upstream levee breach has eroded embankment material around the bridge supports exposing foundation piles.

The Pájaro River Bridges are stable. The bridge supports at this location extend into the ground to a depth of over 80 feet.


The bridges have to be assessed before Highway 1 can reopen. They gave to determine the bridge load capacity and whether weight restrictions will be implemented.


On Sunday morning, Caltrans announced that a full closure of Highway 1 is in place between Salinas Road in Monterey County and Highway 129 which is also Riverside Drive in Watsonville due to flooding from a levee breach in Pajaro.

Caltrans did say a detour is available for drivers by taking Highway 156 to U.S. Highway 101 and then back to Highway 129. There is no estimated time for reopening. For the latest road closures in Monterey County click here.

A close up photo of the flooding on Highway 1 heading into Watsonville. Photo courtesy of CHP-Santa Cruz
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Derrick Ow

Assignment Editor for KION News Channel 5/46


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