Work to replace collapsed section of Highway 1 by Big Sur starts Monday

A section of Highway 1 is collapsed following a heavy rainstorm near Big Sur, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. Photo: Caltrans

Work to replace a section of roadway along Big Sur that crumbled during a recent storm is set to begin on Monday and is expected to continue until summer, officials said.

Torrential rain over a wildfire-scarred landscape triggered a debris flow that overwhelmed water drains and carried a large chunk of Highway 1 into the sea on Jan. 28. The washout left a 150-foot gap along the popular driving route renowned for its ocean views.

The California Department of Transportation said after assessing the damage, it plans to reconnect the scenic highway by filling the canyon below with dirt in a large V-shape and constructing a new road on top of the fill.

Crews will also replace the main drainage system above it to help withstand future debris flows, rising sea levels and coastal erosion, Caltrans said.

"Highway 1 is an iconic roadway that connects travelers with small businesses on the Central Coast, and we’re focused on restoring travel on this section by early summer," Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said in a statement.

The work is estimated to cost $11.5 million, the agency said. Approximately five miles of Highway 1 will be closed to all vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic during repairs.