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Big Sur businesses look forward to HWY 1 reopening April 23, expect increase in customers

A stretch of Highway 1 at Rat Creek near Big Sur will reopen April 23 after nearly three months of road closure. Heavy rains washed away 150 feet of road back in January.

Caltrans Spokesperson Colin Jones said businesses that operate along Highway 1 are seeing 25% to 30% less business due to the closure.

He said the roadway is opening more than two months ahead of schedule, which will alleviate some of that economic stress.

“It’s gonna be a huge boom and benefit to the whole community, from Cambria up to Carmel, to have that roadway open before the summer driving and tourist season,” Jones said.

Melissa Morris is the general manager of the Glen Oaks Big Sur Hotel and Big Sur Roadhouse restaurant. She said they’ve stayed open but have seen a decline in customers during the closure.

I Morris said having Highway 1 traffic coming from both directions can only be good for business.

“We’re excited to have the road open, especially early, because with that drive-thru traffic we are expecting and excited to see an upturn of customers coming in,” Morris said.

Caltrans said crews have been working to reopen the highway seven days a week, for twelve hours a day since the mudslide.

The agency said it’s able to reopen the road ahead of schedule because of good collaboration, hard work and favorable weather.

Morris said the speed of the $12 million rebuild has been impressive.

“I think it’s amazing,” Morris said. “I think it just goes to show how important Highway 1 is for the economy of not just our area here in Monterey County, but the whole state. Because they do put so much effort and energy into fixing it.”

Travelers can expect to drive on the newly repaired road by noon April 23.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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