Big Closures in Big Sur

By Alana Shields 

March 24, 2024

The vast land spread between San Luis Obispo and Monterey is the famous California landmark, Big Sur. Big Sur is a 90-mile stretch on the Pacific Coast along Highway 1 consisting of unique campgrounds, bucket list worthy hikes, and beautiful views. With over 56 scenic trails and many campgrounds spread out around the area along the beach or in the forest, Big Sur is a tourist destination with 4.5-7 million people visiting every year. Although Big Sur is gorgeous with the ocean on the west and mountains on the east, the location comes with some complications. The road is very long with few stops between each main destination and low service. The roads are also very rugged and there has been a lot of damage over the years. 

A road referred to as Paul’s Slide stretching one and half-miles between Lucia and Limekiln was a major effect of the storm. The storm caused an entire chunk of road to fall away into the ocean, separating those in the north section, Lucia to Monterey and Carmel from the south section, Limekiln to Cambria and Morro Bay. Repairs are ongoing, and the stretch closes every big storm season in preparation for any more damage. This past winter the storms caused the road to close again. The road has been closed since early December and various news articles such as KSBY state that work should be done by late spring of 2024. Caltrans reportedly created a road 60 feet higher than the original and  more inland than before. Workers are also putting in drainage systems so that in the future the roads do not need to be closed every stormy season. Caltrans stated in a KSBY article “Caltrans says crews are working seven days a week but recent storms have resulted in several days of lost production.” nonetheless closure is planned to still end in late spring of 2024.