Highway 1 Bridge fails cutting off Big Sur

However, with an estimated one-year closure where the bridge used to be except for a footpath trail, even once the blockage at the other far end is cleared, the businesses on the cut off side will face a hard time. Plus now a majority of the residential zone is out of reach of the fire station which is not a good thing seeing as how those are far between along the PCH and those woods tend to catch fire now and then. Sure, it’s not like they’re gonna have CANG Blackhawks hoisting people off the roofs or human waves marching down along the road pulling handcarts with their belongings, but there’s almost certain business and job losses in the cards.

I agree that some of these folks might need to adjust their shopping plans and make big weekly or monthly trips.

But Los Angeles? Are you kidding me?

LA is about 250 miles from Big Sur. Even Santa Barbara is close to 150. And the traffic on the freeways around both of those cities can be diabolical. There’s no way i’d go there for a shopping trip.

San Luis Obispo, on the other hand, is avbout 50 miles away. It has a range of supermarkets, including Vons, Albertson’s, Ralph’s, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods, as well as a Costco, and other chains like Target, Home Depot, etc., etc.

The wife was up for a little drive so we drove down to support the local businesses, maybe have a meal there. It was a beautiful day today, bright, sunny and clear. No fog or mist on the coast this afternoon. A crystal clear, gorgeous day. And the coast was stunningly beautiful. Wow, is it easy to take it for granted here.

They did turn us around at Palo Colorado, just past Rocky Point. Only those with local address IDs or utility bills could pass. We stopped at Rocky Point and walked out on the rocks. There were plenty of people there, and lots eating at Rocky Point Restaurant. (Map: Google Maps).

On the drive out I couldn’t help but note the similar bridges along the way, all built in the 1930s:

1933: Wildcat Creek Bridge (web images)
1935: Malpaso Creek Bridge (web images)
1932: Granite Canyon Bridge (web images)
1931: Garrapata Creek Bridge (web images)

All these bridges are pretty old.

Rocky Point is a gem. Classic old school building, with breathtaking views of the ocean. Have seen many whales from the patio, just gazing out over the ocean. Yep, I’ve spent quite a few wonderful afternoons there just hanging out, sipping wine and enjoying the view.

Yep, and we’re going to start paying the price soon—not just California, but the whole country—for neglecting our infrastructure. And the time will come when the structural problems don’t just affect a few hundred rural residents and some tourists hoping for a scenic drive. What happens when tens or hundreds of thousands of daily commuters can’t get to work because no-one’s been willing to bite the bullet and put some money into maintenance and upgrades for the nation’s highways and bridges and dams?

If there’s one plan of Donald Trump’s i could get on board with, it’s his promise to upgrade infrastructure, but unfortunately so far it seems to be nothing more than a promise. Even among politicians who agree that this is a pressing issue, there appears to be very little willingness to actually discuss how it might be paid for. No-one actually wants to come out and call for gas tax hikes or any other system that might actually confront the problem. The overriding attitude seems to be that this is important, and if we ignore it for long enough, maybe it will magically fix itself.

Sure, but the 1968 bridge might be end of life’d by technonic forces…

The San Gregorio fault is under (or makes ) Big Sur ?
There was a 3.5 quake there on March 9th. It may have been a sudden movement of the fault… so that the bridge became overstressed. The streams often run down the fault line and the canyon that one is on seems to be fault related, seemingly cutting across the erosion created valleys.

Yes, like in 2007 when we had the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse in Minneapolis.

The Hill

Even earlier than that. In 1983, the Mianus River Bridge in Greenwich, Connecticut, collapsed, killing three drivers. The collapse happened at 1:30am, but it could have been a lot worse, given that this bridge is on the heavily trafficked 1-95 corridor. The cause of the collapse was insufficient maintenance.

Great, we’ll have toll booths with ever-increasing fees dotting every bridge, culvert, and embankment while the private companies owning them engage in the same kind of subterfuge and corner cutting that investment banks and debt consolidation companies did and do with our fiscal infrastructure, all overseen by former United Way of America president and wife of Senate leader Mitch McConnell Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, and former hedge fund manager and man voted “Most Likely To Be Mistaken For An Alien In Disguise” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

And just for the record, “offering financial incentives” is not a plan. It isn’t even 12% of a plan. It’s barely a concept, and one that all too easily leads to construction companies wriggling their fat fingers in the public purse and enjoying corporate welfare in the form of tax breaks and other “incentives” that the working public pays a premium for. It certainly doesn’t address the need to maintain infrastructure in places where the regular traffic may not dictate a profit but it is in the public interest to assure regular and safe access rather than let rural and remote areas fall into ruin and decay. It is the very function of government to provide those services that we deem useful and necessary but which the private sector cannot profit by or be entrusted to secure, and we’ve seen just all too well the destruction that unregulated private industry will do to the economy in the interests of short term profitability.


Well, Santa Barbara or Santa Maria would be closer, sure. But I remember the monthly food & supply trips made by military retirees from the Reno/Tahoe area to Oakland because that was the nearest commissary/PX, ~250 miles. They made a day of it.

The Big Sur information page has video of the new access trail. They’ve been working on it for the best few days. Much of it is being done by volunteers.

People’s overall fitness will certainly improve if they walk that trail several times a week. I guess that’s a health bonus. :slight_smile:

Paso Robles, Morro Bay, and San Luis Obispo are even closer.

Here is a map picture showing the closures, from Palo Colorado in the north to Ragged Point in the south – over 60 miles of Hwy 1 are closed to nonresidents.

BTW, it is generally called PCH, Pacific Coast Highway, generally in the south. Up here it is called Highway 1. Generally. Same road, different names.

San Luis Obispo resident here. I’ll add a bit to what **Aspenglow ** and Stranger said.

Route 1 in Big Sur is really slow. Google Maps is not giving me directions (I think because of the landslide) but I’m guessing it’s around 1.5 hours from Pfeiffer Bridge to to Cambria, so that is a long trek to get to the grocery store. Also a long way to drive to go out to dinner. And as Aspenglow said, Cambria is touristy with not many services. Morro Bay would be better, but that would be around 2 hours.

This is completely off topic but with apologies to the OP, I simply must point this out:

Senate blocks Obama Infrastructure plan.

I remember it so well. During the Great Recession, one of Obama’s very first proposals for recovery was to rebuild infrastructure. His point of view – correct, in my opinion – was that borrowing money would never be cheaper, labor would never be more available because people desperately needed jobs, and the investment in infrastructure would repay itself a thousand times over. Republicans obstructed, blocked and frustrated his plan at every turn.

So yes, Trump is talking about rebuilding infrastructure. But he was hardly the first. Dems may get on board with “Trump’s” infrastructure plan – if there ever is an actual plan – because they will not put party over country. It may benefit all Americans at last. But if/when it happens, remember please that it could have been accomplished 8 years ago, at much less cost and at a time when people suffered greatly because they couldn’t find work.

Pure speculation on my part, but I think Trump will do all he can to withhold infrastructure funds from California. Because California.

Trump rant over. General comments commence.

Regarding Highway One, it is the most expensive road to maintain in the entire country. Anyone who has ever driven the road can readily see why. Geography dictates the instability of the road. It is in a nearly constant state of infrastructure rebuild and it always has been. There are also predictable closures at certain spots after every big storm.

I agree they do need to replace those bridges, but to do it proactively will be an engineering feat of immense cost to all involved. I can almost see why they wait for a bridge to completely fail before replacing it. It’s the only time no one argues with the need to do the work, and environmental concerns magically melt away.

I’ll relate two stories of infrastructure obstruction from the State of California I experienced while I lived there, that had real consequences to me and that demonstrate my point:

  1. I lived in a little village off the beaten path just south of Morro Bay called Los Osos. Los Osos is an unincorporated spot in San Luis Obispo County. The community just sprang up over the years. It grew to a population of around 12,000.

Every household had a separate septic tank. The State Regional Water Quality Control Board determined that nitrates were leaching from the septic tanks into the ground water supply. Not good. For years, SRWQC implored San Luis Obispo County to take advantage of cheap federal loans/grants and build a sewer in Los Osos. Nnnnnope. Finally, SRWQC said, “Enough!” They slapped a building moratorium on Los Osos. No more new dwellings or even remodeling of existing homes until a sewer was built.

The building moratorium went into effect in 1983. I left in 2004. They were still fighting about it. I understand the sewer is built at last, 34 years later. Estimated costs to the 4,500 households affected: $165/month for at least 20 years, plus an average hook-up fee of $3,000.

  1. Los Osos is built to the northern edge of an important bird sanctuary. The bird sanctuary exists as a result of a low-lying salt water estuary. There was an existing little bridge that facilitated drainage from a creek into the estuary toward the northern end of the bird sanctuary. When big storms hit, however, the bridge would flood, completely cutting off access of all Los Osos residents to Morro Bay and points north. The only alternative route was to drive to San Luis Obispo and then backtrack on Highway One. A one-way trip of 3 miles turned into 25.

It took more than a decade to replace that little bridge, owing to environmental studies and such.

Now, I am a supporter of environmental issues and causes, and I understand the need for such studies. But this was an instance of replacing a bridge that had already been there for decades, not building something new.

Let a major bridge collapse, however, and all those requirements just disappear.

Bullitt, everyone I knew in San Luis Obispo County referred to it as Highway One. PCH references didn’t seem to start until further south. I’ve always maintained that Southern California starts at the Madonna Inn, but even there, they referred to it as Highway One. :wink:

I never suggested that Trump was the first or only one to suggest this. I simply noted that it was the ONE part of his policy platform that i can get on board with.

I was well aware of Obama’s efforts, and i believe that i actually supported him right here on this message board, although, as with a few of his other good plans, he never seemed willing enough (to me, at least) to really get out there and stump for it. In fact, if i weren’t something of a political junkie, i might never have known it existed; it certainly didn’t hang around as a talking point for very long.

Of course, the press and the opposing politicians are probably mainly to blame for that, but the Presidency is a big bullhorn, and Obama should have used it longer and louder to talk about infrastructure.

PCH references, I’ve only heard of those in LA. To me, SoCal starts in Santa Barbara but I don’t like associating that beautiful city, and beautiful San Diego, with LA.

Smell-A, really. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the Los Osos info. I’ve passed through there. Really, had to turn off of Hwy 1 to see the place. That was 3-4 years ago. A quaint town.

*John Boehner on his plans for Obama’s agenda: “We’re going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”*

Yeah, I’m sure talking about infrastructure–a topic only slightly less yawn-inducing to the general public than relating a pitch by pitch recounting of you eight year old’s Little League game–would have been just the thing to get the public to stand up and demand that their elected representatives do their jobs rather than be as stubbornly obstructive as a small child refusing to go to bed.

As for infrastructure being part of a policy platform, that would assume some kind of actual policy statement and supporting analysis indicating costs and feasibilty. All I’ve been able to find is the round figure of “$1 trillion” with no indication of how the money would be allocated of what infrastructure upgrade priorities would be, some vague statements of about using “public-private partnerships” and $137 billion in federal tax credits to incentivize companies to finance transportation projects. Political wonks are trying to figure out what this means when it really has no meaning whatsoever except a bunch of baseless word salad. But that is hardly unexpected based upon Trump’s own description of his approach to business: “I play it very loose. I don’t carry a briefcase. I try not to schedule too many meetings. I leave my door open…I prefer to come to work each day and see what develops.” – From Trump: The Art of the Deal


You gave yourself a little treat, then, finding Los Osos! LOL, you probably drove over the bridge I talked about. I lived in a more specific part of the area called Baywood Park. I love the whole area still, but you can’t go home.

If you find yourself there again and are a fan of authentic Thai food, I strongly recommend making your way down to 2nd Street to find Little Noi’s Thai Takeout restaurant. Trip Advisor on Little Noi’s

Did you visit Montaña de Oro State Park? If not, it’s worth a bit of a drive to spend some time in this breathtaking spot. If you time it right, you may find the Monarch butterflies there on their migration to Mexico. Montaña de Oro State Park