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Condemned Big Sur bridge proving tricky to knock down

The bridge's location and current design makes it difficult to get a good angle for the wrecking ball.

CalTrans sent engineers out Wednesday to evaluate how to completely demolish the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, after a wrecking ball failed to break through the bridge Monday. 

The Highway 1 bridge just south of Big Sur was condemned last month due to damage from rainstorms and landslides. The popular highway is currently closed from San Luis Obispo County’s Ragged Point to 15 miles north of Big Sur.

CalTrans Spokesperson Jim Shivers says the force of the wrecking ball was not sufficient enough and the engineers are trying to figure out a way for the crane to maneuver the wrecking ball in a more direct and powerful way.

Shivers says the CalTrans has already designed a new, single-span steel bridge. The replacement bridge will have no columns, unlike its predecessor, to avoid major damage from landslides like the ones that caused the damage in the first place.

Just before 5 p.m., Shivers announced the demolition effort had restarted and would continue until sundown, and resumed Thursday morning if necessary.

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