Storm damage to Highway 1 in Ventura County means section of it closed nights/early mornings
During storm, the ocean tore away protective rocks, sand from ocean side of the PCH, threatening to undermine southound lanes.
It’s a scenic state highway that’s also a key route used by tens of thousands of motorists between Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.
But, a section of the Pacific Coast highway suffered million of dollars in storm damage this week which is disrupting the travel of thousands of commuters.
"The strong storm eroded the rock slope protection (on the ocean side of Highway 1)," said Michael Comeaux, with Caltrans. "The rocks which protect the slope had actually been washed away, and the soil and sand behind them that support the shoulder of the road also got washed away. Part of the shoulder has collapsed.
The impacted section of the PCH is in Ventura County, about five miles north of the Los Angeles County Line.
Comeaux says the plan is to temporarily shift the highway inland, away from the eroded section of the roadway’s shoulder. They are going to improve the northbound shoulder, and temporarily shift the lanes slightly inland.
The Caltrans spokesman says for at least the next week, travel on the damaged section of highway is being limited to daylight hours. That means people can't use the PCH to travel between Ventura, and Los Angeles Counties during the nighttime and early morning hours.
"Because of safety concerns, Caltrans will be closing (the impacted section) of the PCH every night from 6 p.m. until 8 a.m. the next morning," said Comeaux. That's expected to be the situation at least through February 15. People can bypass the closure by using Highway 101 to Topanga Canyon Boulevard.
Comeaux says morning commuters who would normally pass through the area before 8 a.m. or even up until around 9 should use the 101, because it’s not guaranteed the damaged section of highway will reopen precisely at 8. Surf conditions delayed it to 8:45 one day this week.
Early estimates put the pricetag of repairing the damaged section of the PCH at around seven million dollars. There’s no word on how long repair project will take. But by the end of next week the plan is for two lanes of traffic to be open in both directions.
The good news is that mountains on the inland side of the PCH which created slides in the past did well in the recent string of storms, with no major problems reported. Caltrans has done a number of projects on the PCH in recent years to reduce the landslide danger.