Photos show America’s most scenic drive before and after a million tons of debris were cleared away

  • Landslides devastated California’s Highway 1 around the Big Sur area.
  • The stretch of road was closed for over a year after the landslides hit.
  • To repair the road, engineers built a new section of highway above the debris, which cost $US54 million.

A popular portion of California’s Highway 1 reopened last week, more than a year after a series of devastating landslides in and around the Big Sur region.

In May 2017, a mudslide sent one million tons of rocks and debris onto Highway 1, which is the longest route in California. The massive landslide wiped out one-third of a mile in Mud Creek, located on the southern end of the Big Sur coast – arguably the most scenic drive in the US.

Here is what the road looked like in March (left) and May (right) last year:

California Big Sur Highway 1 landslide May and Diana Yukari/Business Insider

To repair the road, engineers built a new section of highway above the debris, which cost $US54 million to do, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The collapse had been somewhat predictable, as California experienced one of its wettest seasons on record leading up to May. According to local radio station KQED, the mountainside in some areas around Big Sur had been soaked through, as the region received about 117 inches of rain between October 2016 and April 2017.

Some communities south of the Big Sur coast were also hit hard. Mel McCulloch, president of the Cambria Chamber of Commerce, told The Wall Street Journal that revenues fell about 60% in lodging and up to 40% at restaurants in the nearby cities of San Simeon and Cambria.

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