Highway 1 through Big Sur is designated an All American Road under the National Scenic Byways program and is considered a crown jewel of the program. Heavy rains that began in January 2017 caused a landslide and major damage to the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge support columns on Highway 1 in Monterey County, necessitating replacement. Highway 1 access to Big Sur was cut off from the north, so businesses were shut down and families separated, causing tremendous financial hardship and huge social costs to the community.
Because of the emergency nature of the project, normal construction processes were set aside, creating a seamless partnership between Caltrans and the contractor and allowing lengthy processes to be done quickly. The contractor used a ’launch’ process for the first time in California to speed construction of the final structure. To launch the bridge, it was completely preassembled on the roadbed then pulled across the canyon. The $24 million steel girder bridge was replaced in just eight months, allowing the community to come together once more and get where they needed to go.