California was hit by a massive natural landslide that occurred over the weekend. The Big Sur Landslide buried a part of Highway 1 under a 40-foot thick layer of dirt and rock debris. This occurrence has had a heavy effect on the transportation and connectivity of California, a state that relies heavily on its unique coastal highways and tourism to survive, financially and economically.

The landslide comprised over a million tons of dirt and rock, which rolled down toward the Mud Creek. Since the slope was saturated, the downward slide covered almost 1 quarter of a mile area of the highway.

The area is currently unstable and the transport department has no idea when the highway will re-open.

Big Sur’s previous tryst with landslides

California’s Department of Transportation spokeswoman Susana Cruz said that officials were unable to visit the landslide area since the place was still unstable and currently in motion. The Department of Transportation will be using the assistance of engineers and geologists to figure out on how to re-build the highway after clearing the debris. Cruz shared that this mudslide is the largest in the history of California till date.

Before the occurrence of the slide, California highways faced massive destruction worth $1 billion due to storms that hit the region.

Big Sur, the area where the landslide took place is the one of California’s biggest tourist spots during a regular year. Visitors come to see the iconic ocean scenery winding along Highway 1 and the serene groves of redwoods.

Colin Jones, spokesman for the state transportation department termed last winter as a particularly rough one for Big Sur, with repeated floods and landslides affecting communication, transportation, and normal life.

These floods and landslides disconnected parts of highways and bridges, and also prevented access to closed campgrounds and resorts. Due to the slide, helicopters were unable to fly inr supplies and guests. Highway 1 was already undergoing repair along the Mud Creek from a previous landslide that took place in the region. However, the damage control crew was removed from this area once the authorities discovered that the saturated soil was increasingly becoming unstable.

Important to clear the debris?

Big Sur’s Chamber of Commerce president ofKirk Gafill shared that Big Sur is a unique and dramatic landscape. He further mentioned that more than clearing the landslide debris on Highway 1, it is important to replace the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge. The bridge was demolished early 2017 as it was damaged extensively due to storms that hit the state in January and February. The renovated bridge is scheduled to open in September