MONTEREY COUNTY –- Caltrans announced today, Apr. 8, that Highway 1 at Rat Creek in Monterey County will reopen by Apr. 30, nearly two months ahead of its target date. A full closure 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 on Mar. 1 and has been able to accelerate that timeline with favorable weather conditions. Crews can complete the 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, recreationists, business owners, and those who move goods through this region,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “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 had a brief delay in late March when a body was found near a drainage pipe at the construction site. Monterey County Sheriff identified the body as Nancy Lynn Algert, 64, of Templeton.
According to authorities, Algert parked her vehicle along the highway and walked around the road construction site before her death. The cause of her death is unknown; however, investigators do not suspect foul play.
Caltrans will establish a new road base during the next two weeks, to be followed by paving and striping.
Caltrans will continue construction work that will require intermittent traffic control at Rat Creek following the reopening as crews will 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.
Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway work zones.
For traffic updates on other state highways in Monterey County, travelers may contact Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at (805)549-3318 or can visit the District 5 website at dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-5