Biggest mudslide in California history buries part of the Pacific Coast Highway in Big Sur
A landslide of more than 1 million tons of brick and dirt buried part of California’s Pacific Coast Highway over the weekend.
The damage is “unprecedented,” a Caltrans spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times, covering a third of a mile of Highway 1 in rock and dirt that is 40 feet deep.
Officials said that it is the largest mudslide in California history.
It is unclear for how long the stretch of highway will remain closed.
“We haven't been able to go up there and assess. It's still moving,” Susana Cruz, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation, told Associated Press. “We have geologists and engineers who are going to check it out this week to see how do we pick up the pieces.”
This weekend’s landslide was just the cap to a series of smaller landslides along the coast in the past few months. The area had already been closed to deal with damages caused by the lesser landslides, so no injuries or damage to equipment was reported.
The highway is one of the main arteries for Big Sur, which relies on the gorgeous coastline to draw tourists. As access to Big Sur remains closed, some resorts are relying on helicopters to fly in visitors.
After five years of drought, a winter of heavy rain and snow in California has sped up coastal erosion around the state. Storms across California have caused $1.3 billion in highway damage over the past year. The year before, that figure was $650 million.