You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Road Construction’ category.

If you see this guy cycling the coast, be nice. This is Marcus, 24 years old, a fellow Scorpio from Switzerland. Marcus has rode that bike from Switzerland, through Africa, Argentina, and most recently from Las Vegas to San Diego and up the coast to where we found him yesterday. That’s a Swiss flag flying at the tail of his bike.


Caltrans workers informed Marcus that he could not travel north on Highway 1 all the way through Big Sur, this conversation was at Mud Creek Slide. We came through just after this discussion and our buddy David, who drives a truck for Winsor told us, “Someone needs to explain to that guy!” So we stopped at our turn home and Marcus stopped too as he saw us and he asked, “Why can’t I travel on this road?”

We explained about Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge.

Marcus explained that he and his bike forded rivers in Africa, climbed mountains in Argentina, and again he asked, “So why can’t I get around this bridge?”

And we explained that the bridge is guarded by CHP. Maybe he could do a 1 a.m. attempt to cross, maybe he could take an old dirt road down into the State Park and wade through mud and creek, but even there the Park Rangers will cite him if they see him.

We asked if he wanted a beer, he declined.

In the end, we told him to do what he wants, it’s his adventure, but we also described Nacimiento Ferguson Road, that it too is Closed, but perhaps he could use it as an outlet over to 101 then River Road to return to the coast. Being a mom, I also told him that it will be very cold tonight and that he should ensure that he camps somewhere warm. He assured me that he’s prepared.

So be nice to Marcus if you see him. He’s courageous and has the enthusiasm of youth!

Two Caltrans projects halt cars on Highway 1 through Big Sur.  The northern one consists of maintenance and improvements at Rocky Creek Bridge.  The southern project consists of two constructions, both well-coordinated to appear as one project; a bridge at Pitkins Curve and a rock shed at Rain Rocks.

Project #1 – Rocky Creek Bridge

Along the northern Big Sur coast, about a 1/2 hour south of Carmel, automobiles and bicycles are controlled, by stoplight, to one-way passing on the northern and southern approaches to Rocky Creek Bridge.  You’ll wait only a few minutes at the light while the opposing traffic clears, then be allowed to pass through.  The Rocky Creek Bridge job isn’t listed (as of today) on CalTrans Road Conditions, but its roadwork is mentioned in a February 2012, District 5 Status of Projects.  CalTrans is stabilizing the roadway, widening the shoulders, upgrading guardrails, and installing a retaining wall.  Judging by the multiple scaffolds, it appears that the bridge, built in 1932, is undergoing a multi-point inspection.

Projects #2 & #3 – Pitkins Curve Bridge and Rain Rocks Rock Shed

You’ll wait about ten minutes at the site of Pitkins Curve and Rain Rocks, along the southern coast of Big Sur near Lucia.  You can shut off your engine and relax, while listening to ocean breezes through your car’s open windows.  Rain Rocks Rock Shed and Pitkins Curve Bridge is listed on CalTrans Road Conditions, but without any description of how amazing is this two-in-one project.  Pitkins Bridge and Rain Rocks Rock Shed perch atop the shifting scree of greywacke within the narrowest construction jobsite ever visited.  Steel netting is draped over the rockface to contain ceaseless falling rocks.  The netting was initially draped with helicopter assistance, then climbers fasten it tightly in place.  The rock shed will allow for cars and bicyclists to safely travel this passage and the bridge will connect the rock shed to the northern roadbed.

 

Slow for the Cone Zone.

This post written by Anneliese Agren

CalTrans Logo for Pitkins Curve & Rain Rocks - SR1 A roadwork project with its own logo, and flyer!

Pitkins Curve and Rain Rocks lie south of Lucia, north of Limekiln.

Pitkins Curve is The Highway 1 spot for road closure during wet winters, yet even during the dry season, the hillside is an intimidating scree of graywacke; hence the name:  Rain Rocks.  Pitkins Curve, Rain Rocks - Location Photo

Most times that I’ve driven through this pass there are cones out to slow cars’ speed and men shoveling shards of sedimentary rock off the roadway.

Years back, during working hours (seemingly year-round), a flag man controlled vehicles one-way at a time. Now, stop signals alternate the north south traffic.

Other times, the men are gone, the stop light is not in use, but the hillscape appears as if bombs went off and I’ve come along just after all the rock broke loose.

Big Sur hosts several points where the hill above the roadcut weakens, falls and closes the Coast Road providing a hemispheric existence for residents. Pitkins Curve – Rain Rocks easily takes Top Honors of Continuous Nuisance.  Asphalt constantly patched and repaved. Always littered with rocks onto the roadbed and stacked at the shoulder.

And why is this, you might ask?

Read the rest of this entry »

Aloe Arborescens, Bluffs of Santa Monica by Harry MattullPassive pensive scene with Palos Verdes at the horizon. Seemingly sublime, no?

Harry Mattull paints this seaview from Palisades Park – a popular park precariously placed atop an impermanent bluff, overlying a gully-riddled, hollowed-out badland, caused by wind and water erosion on a steep clay and sandy slope.

Notice how the artist paints out the Coast Boulevard?  Romantic.

An early 20th century wasteland at the beach bejeweled by black Southern Pacific railroad tracks leading towards the wharf and a skinny sandy road for the newly popular automobile.Santa Monica Palisades Park

The Coast Boulevard was built over the tracks and road, and then enlarged to 2 to 4 to now 6 lanes below this ancient sand dune and river plain.  The beach widened and replenished with sand so that tourism to the beaches became an economy for Los Angeles.

Read the rest of this entry »

Devil's Slide mapMr. Roadshow of the San Jose Mercury News writes about the construction status of Devil’s Slide Tunnel.

“Workers have drilled into and blown away mostly solid rock, which they prefer over soft, crumbling rock because it is easier to blast away neatly. They are tunneling about 15 feet a day, and they are almost two-thirds of the way through the mountain.”

Mr. Roadshow concludes, “When these tunnels are finished at last, we’ll have a lot less to be wary about.”

With regards to no longer driving the drop-down roadbed of the roller coaster ride that Highway 1 currently provides at Devil’s Slide, yes; however, I anticipate traffic to increase north and south along Highway 1 once the tunnels are complete and open.  The coast is somewhat protected from the mass-weekend tourist traffic by the precarious passage of Devil’s Slide.  Once the tunnels open and ease the drive, we will see many more visitors, property values will increase, and the isolation that the community once experienced will vanish, forever.

If you are interested in reading more about this project, visit CalTrans’ District 4 Devil’s Slide Project page.  An excellent chronicle is Eric Rice’s 3-part series on how the project came to be, or purchase Barbara VanderWerf’s book on the history of the route over Montara Mountain.

Coast Road Twit

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Flickr Photos

Sandbar forms a month before Summer begins.  @pescaderocreek

Pescadero Marsh

Broken Flood Gate

Fishing at Pescadero Marsh

More Photos

Days until manuscript completion

Final DraftNovember 30th, 2013
Dot i's and cross t's.