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The Inertia

Big Sur is one of the most remote coastlines in California. And the scenery is absolutely unlike any you’ll find anywhere. But most of the world has been cut off from viewing that scenery, or accessing at least part of the area in general for the better part of a year after a gigantic mudslide–an estimated 5 million cubic yards of earth–buried Pacific Coast Highway as it slid into the ocean. The rubble was 30-40 feet deep in places, destroying the road. But Wednesday, the iconic highway reopened two days ahead of a scheduled ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.

Mud Creek–we get the irony, too–where the slide occurred is eight miles north of the San Luis Obispo/Monterey County lines and travelers have been forced to take a detour to Highway 101 since May of last year when the slide occurred.

The $54 million construction price tag for this quarter-mile stretch of highway is double the cost it took to create the road from SLO to Monterey in the 1920s and 1930s, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The publication estimated that price based on inflation since the road first opened.


For this new section, a pair of 25-foot embankments were built to protect the road from slides above and another quarter-mile breakwater was added to prevent it from washing away, below. California’s best road trip is back in a big way. Fingers crossed Mother Nature doesn’t strike again.


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