California Department of Transportation

Welcome to the Highway 1 Big Sur Coast Highway Management Plan

Highway 1 at Big SurBig Sur Coast Highway Management Plan logo

Key Issues

Storm Damage Response and Repair

Efficient and timely restoration of safe, reliable, continuous two-way travel, in a manner responsible to the environment, the community and the public.

Issues and Considerations
  1. Emergency Preparedness
    • Coordinated Response
      • Coordinated Incident Command structure in place (roles/responsibilities)
      • Reliable communication tools/systems/protocols with agencies, community, public
      • Adequate supplies (fuel, equipment)

  2. Proactive Planning
    • Minimize: Identify preventive measures to avert (or reduce the scale) of potentially catastrophic failures (from routine maintenance activities to larger scale project proposals)
    • Anticipate: Develop strategies, agreed upon ahead of time, to implement during a time of need. Example: Pre-approved disposal sites for landslide material
    • Coordinate: Agencies, community, business, public.
      • Streamline regulatory agencies/emergency permitting procedures
      • Develop interagency standardized practices that optimize efficiency (in repair), address essential transportation needs and are environmentally responsible

  3. Responsible Repair
    • Appropriate Design
      • Consider long-term vs. short-term repair strategies (lifecycle costs, disruption, ability to address long-term stability)
      • Consider innovative strategies for recurring or potentially large-scale problems (such as replacing culverts w/ bridges at important drainages)
      • Minimize earthwork/cuts for repair
    • Construction
      • Agree on strategies to address community, agency and public needs for giving and receiving information during repair activities (delays, traffic control, sign packages, press releases, etc.)
      • Ensure environmental compliance throughout repair and with appropriate follow-up (on-site environmental monitoring)
      • Consider time delays and configuration of traffic queues with one-way traffic control; consider other safety issues or needs of those delayed (i.e. those in queue)
    • Economics
      • Responsible and effective use of public funds (consider full cost analysis for repairs)
      • Economic impacts (commercial and private) from road closures and travel delays during repairs
      • Balance time/costs/wear and tear of various repair strategies and practices
    • Environment
      • Thorough evaluation of environmental impacts
        • Direct Impacts
        • Indirect Impacts
      • Thorough evaluation of disposal alternatives (land-based and marine) and associated impacts
        • Consider natural processes (landform changes, ocean systems, water quality)
        • Evaluate extent and influence of human activities
      • Full consideration of environmental impacts including but not limited to:
        • Loss of native habitats
        • Invasion/spread of exotic species
        • Water quality of ocean and streams
      • Achieve balance in corridor management for human needs/environmental protection
      • Develop appropriate and sustainable mitigation for unavoidable impacts (revegetation, restoration

Maintenance Practices

Safe, reliable, continuous two-way travel.

Issues and Considerations
  1. Development of Long-term Maintenance Plan
    • Develop innovative and efficient practices/solutions to maintenance problems
      • Recycling of material (berming, shoulder backing, etc.)
      • Provide consistent guidance across maintenance territories
      • On-site/local availability of equipment and materials
    • Identify maintenance constraints due to environmental regulations, access restrictions and resources (funding, staffing, equipment)
    • Identify opportunities to address constraints and improve response
    • Maintain roadway capacity during maintenance
    • Enhance maintenance activity (preventative)
    • Identify and prioritize maintenance needs to modify practices or provide for increased demands (for maintenance activity)
      • Operations
      • Equipment
      • Resources
    • Develop and implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) for field maintenance on a corridor-wide basis for consistency
    • Develop consistent vegetation management practices to control invasion/spread of exotic species

  2. Preventative Maintenance
    • Agree on reasonable measures of security (i.e. through preventive maintenance practices) to prevent larger failures related to:
      • Slopes (embankments and cut slopes)
      • Landslides and rockfall
      • Roadway embankment and erosion
      • Drainages (including culverts)
    • Assess "upstream" influence on maintenance needs downstream
    • Consider reducing disproportionate demand/wear and tear on highway facilities (road/bridges), such as that caused by large vehicles (trucks, buses)

Scenic and Habitat Conservation

Restoring, maintaining, and preserving the natural beauty and rural character of the corridor.

Issues and Considerations

  1. Natural Beauty and Scenic Viewsheds
    • Elements of structural features (e.g. bridge rails, guardrails, retaining walls) can be in conflict with natural setting; consider aesthetic design standards for overall design compatibility
    • Develop long-term plan to reduce and minimize visual clutter, such as overhead poles & wires, roadway and roadside signs
    • Establish appropriate roadside practices to protect views (e.g. address roadside berming, turnouts)
    • Establish critical viewsheds, priorities and tools for restoration/preservation
    • Special status route deserving of special status designs (bring innovative design to achieve desired aesthetic)
    • Allow non-native plant species with aesthetic values to remain

  2. Sense of Place and Historic Character
    • Encourage narrow but safe pavement widths
    • "Freeway" designs out of place on a rural route
    • Contemporary standards result in proliferation of modern structural elements
    • Modern conveniences and/or new technology create an accumulation of new elements (non-roadway features): overhead utilities, cellular towers, night lighting, signs, call boxes
    • Highway serves important "global and local" functions: widely-renowned tourist destination and community "Main Street"
    • Embrace overall character (individual vs. cumulative changes - accumulation of modern influences can detract from overall character)
    • Higher traffic volumes and speeds can detract from overall serenity

  3. Habitat Values and Species Protection
    • Proliferation and evolution of turnouts results in informal intensification of roadside use, impacts to nearby habitats
    • Highway traverses sensitive habitats that may warrant specialized design criteria (improve compatibility of roadway corridor with wildlife corridors)
    • Avoid placement of features that interfere with wildlife corridors (fences and barriers)

Public Access and Recreation

Value: Highway 1 is the primary access to important coastal and recreational resources available to the public. Balanced access needs and resource protection to ensure appreciation and enjoyment of these resources for generations to come.

Issues and Considerations

  1. Accommodation of Visitor and Resident Needs
    • Evaluate visitor needs (e.g. restrooms, trash receptacles) and reduce visitor impacts (e.g. littering at existing turnouts and vista points)
    • Plan vista points and turnouts (add/modify/eliminate)
    • Balance needs and considerations of visitors and local residents
    • Develop opportunities for public
      • Viewing (vista points)
      • Access (e.g. pedestrian, equestrians, bicycles)

  2. Tourism
    • Ensure balanced objectives for maintaining rural character (vis--vis managing traffic volumes/congestion) and allowing or promoting larger vehicles (buses).

  3. Interpretation
    • Develop opportunities for visitor education and interpretation
      • Interpretive signage (points of interest, natural landmarks)
      • Educational kiosks
      • Evaluate non-intrusive means for interpretation (e.g. radio)
    • Highlight special features
    • Big Sur Coast
    • Marine Sanctuary
    • National Scenic Byway/All-American Road Status is upheld

  4. Information and Communication
    • Consider feasibility and use of other communication means (e.g. Highway Advisory Radio)
    • Consistent and reliable forms of communication for ongoing activities (e.g. project planning updates, construction activities, traffic control)
    • Signage (e.g. speed zones, points of interest, location markers-post-miles)
    • Call boxes/emergency communication

  5. Enhanced Recreational Opportunities
    • Reduce conflicts between travel modes (e.g. bicycles/cars)
    • Provide long-term plan for continuous coastal trail
    • Plan ahead for accommodating coastal access requirements with future highway projects

Funding Needs and Priorities

Value: Practical and sustainable implementation of Big Sur CHMP. Identifies fiscal implications of plan recommendations; prioritizes needs, and identifies existing or potential new funding sources to carry out provisions of the Big Sur CHMP

Issues and Considerations

  1. Identify Funding Needs and Opportunities
    • Evaluate full implications of recommendations (management strategies)
    • Confirm existing budgetary opportunities and constraints
    • Ensure active participation in established programming processes
    • Explore options within existing resources
    • Identify and pursue new funding sources and opportunities (such as grant funding or special allocations)

  2. Prioritize Needs by Funding Source and Project Type
    • Capital projects
    • Enhancements
    • Mitigation Sites/Opportunities
    • Maintenance and Operations

Plan Implementation

Value: Coordinated action and long-term sustainability for the Big Sur CHMP.

Issues and Considerations

  1. Streamline Interagency Coordination
    • Agree on programmatic approaches-develop agency agreements to accommodate long-term needs for typical or anticipated activities
    • Enhance mutual understanding of agency regulations, requirements and expectations (conducting work, regulatory compliance, resource protection and management)
    • Provide clarity on physical jurisdictional boundaries
    • Develop projects with Coastal Act and Local Coastal Plan (LCP) policy-compliance "built-in"

  2. Streamline Coordination with Property Owners
    • Clarify property boundary and easement information

  3. Develop Implementation Strategy
    • Definition of ideal Big Sur CHMP characteristics: sustainable, durable, adaptable, obtainable
    • Ensure National Scenic Byway/All-American Road Status is upheld
    • Develop multi-agency process for Big Sur CHMP ratification
    • Compliance with LCP and other regulations and planning documents for ultimate "common plan" serving multiple organizations

  4. Long-term Monitoring and Plan Performance
    • Formation of Byway organization for implementation/oversight/monitoring
    • Define long-range Big Sur CHMP performance measures
    • Training for Caltrans employees (immediate and long-term)
(Source: Big Sur Coast Highway Management Plan Summary of Key Issues and Considerations. September 2000)


Last updated: July 24, 2007