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Caltrans has massive task at hand with major landslide near Big Sur

One of the biggest in California history

Video: Massive landslide on Highway 1...

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. - Caltrans held a media tour on Thursday for what's being called one of the biggest landslides in California history.

The massive landslide is located on Highway 1 in the area of Ragged Point in northern San Luis Obispo County. It's 1,500 feet long--that's over a quarter mile long and there's over a million tons of dirt and gravel on the road.  

There are massive boulders in the area and the landslide is still considered active. Pebbles can be seen coming down the mountain from Saturday night's landslide.

The road was permanently closed three weeks ago as a precaution so luckily there were no injuries.

"It's just a beautiful cruise up the coast," tourist Bob Hillman said.   

But for Bob Hillman, this coastal stretch of Highway 1 is now almost unrecognizable.

"It looks dicey sometimes," Hillman said. 

Hillman brought his two daughters up from Long Beach to check out the Central Coast but had to turn around at the road closure.

"And I've done it with this big old beast a couple of times (his RV)," Hillman said. 

Thursday afternoon, Caltrans brought us right up to where Highway 1 now comes to a screeching halt.

"This is a slide that's really 5 slides in one and it started in January," Susana Cruz with Caltrans said. 

Susana Cruz with Caltrans says three weeks ago they permanently closed this road to travelers and locals as a precaution.

"Mother nature kind of took over and everything came down," Cruz said. 

Caltrans is still calling this an active landslide and there's boulders throughout the area - and every few minutes you can still see pebbles rolling down the mountain.

"Coming down all the way to the shore, made a new shoreline with a tip," Cruz said. 

It's being called one of the biggest landslides in California history. Caltrans is exploring options for the multi-million dollar repair.
  
"Let's say the roadway is gone, they'd have to reconstruct the roadway and basically shore up the hillside and put a netting or something for future slide activity," Cruz said. 

Cruz says this year's punishing rain just ended up being too much. She compared this landslide to another one in 1983, about 15 miles north of this one on Highway 1.

There are alternative routes.

"It's 10 miles north of here on Highway 101, it's called Nacimiento-Furguson, it goes east, west," Cruz said. 

"When you travel you think we could have a boulder or two but that's part of the fun," Hillman said. 

Crews don't know how they'll fix the road but are assessing the options. They could put up netting after cleaning up the dirt.

They might have to rebuild the road but they won't know until they can see it again. It could take a year to reopen this stretch of road that thousands of drivers use.

Caltrans says the punishing rain just ended up being too much for the area and there is potential for more landslide activity.

Caltrans also says no one in the four homes nearby is stuck or isolated in their homes. Caltrans says this will be a multi-million dollar project and calling it one of the worst landslides in California history.


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