Part of Highway 1 Collapses Toward Sea
Pacific Coast Highway closed for at least a month during busy tourist season
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 18, 2011 11:31 AM CDT
The Pacific Coast Highway, Big Sur.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Huge quantities of rock and dirt tumbled from a Big Sur cliff on Wednesday, collapsing a 40-foot stretch of California's Highway 1 toward the ocean. A 2-mile section of the Pacific Coast Highway will likely be impassable for at least a month, the Monterey Herald reports. “We don't want to take any chances,” says an official. Meanwhile, crews have built water diversions to protect the damaged roadway in anticipation of another rainy week.

The collapse followed heavy rains, and locals had noticed a crack in the road, “but nobody anticipated it was going to do this,” says one resident. Businesses fear the closure could hit hard during the tourist season. “There is too much going down here to allow an extended closure,” notes a hotel boss, adding that this is "the beginning of our season, the first good hit after the winter for all of us.” Click through for pictures that show Highway 1's collapse into the ocean.