The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Friday, 26 May 2017 12:30

Massive landslide buries part of California highway (video)

Massive landslide buries part of California highway (video) Credits: John Madonna, Associated Press

Part of the mountainside went off into the Pacific Ocean, covering up a big part of scenic Highway 1 in Big Sur area, California, on Saturday, May 20th.

Aerial photos and video of the massive landslide show a huge volume of earth slipping into the sea in the Mud Creek area of southern Big Sur - one of California's biggest tourist attractions. More than 1 million tons of rock and dirt slid off a saturated slope, covering up about a one-third-of-a-mile stretch of Highway 1, under an approximately 35 – 40 ft deep layer. Authorities have no estimates on when the Highway might re-open. The area remains unstable.

Saturday's landslide occurred after a series of smaller slides in the area that had closed a portion of Highway 1. According to Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) District 5 spokesman, Jim Shivers, crews that were working to clear the previous slides had to abandon their work last week, after engineers noticed that the hillside above them continued to move. "We were fearful because there was potential for additional slides. We didn't think it would be the magnitude of this," he added.

This is the latest challenge for Caltrans crews along California's Central Coast, where one of the rainiest and snowiest winters on record caused Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Big Sur to fail, closed parts of Highway 1 and led to the partial collapse of a section of heavily traveled Highway 17. This winter's storms have caused at least $1.3 billion in damage to state and local roads and highways, according to an estimate in mid-April, Jim Shivers stated. That total is likely to climb after the latest landslide collapse.

Sources: LA Times, SF Gate

Read 1342 times Last modified on Friday, 26 May 2017 13:29


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