MONTEREY COUNTY — Caltrans has announced that it will reopen Highway 1 at Rat Creek in Monterey County by April 30, nearly two months ahead of schedule.
A full closure of the highway has been in place following the Jan. 28 mudslide that washed out 150 feet of the roadway.
Caltrans estimated a reopening in early summer when it began major emergency repairs March 1. Crews have been able to accelerate that timeline due to favorable weather conditions and plan to complete remaining construction work after the road reopens.
“Reopening Highway 1 at Rat Creek just three months after a washout of this magnitude is great news for residents, recreationalists, business owners and those who move goods through this region,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin in a news release Thursday. “Caltrans has been focused on the emergency work needed to increase the resiliency of this highway section to extreme weather, and the fixes made will allow for safe travel.”
Caltrans District 5 Director Tim Gubbins added, “Our crews have worked to create a safe road in challenging conditions, and we are excited to reopen this lifeline earlier than expected.”
After Caltrans identified the enhanced fill design repair strategy in late February, crews worked seven days a week during daylight hours to fill the canyon with compacted dirt to the road level.
Caltrans will establish the base of a new road during the next two weeks, and then follow that up with paving and striping.
Continued construction work will require intermittent traffic control at Rat Creek following the reopening as crews install a new, redundant drainage system. The 10-foot diameter culvert will improve water flow during storms and make the roadway more resilient to extreme weather activity.
Caltrans will also work on landscaping and installing permanent guardrails throughout the early summer.