California’s Highway 1 has officially reopened and motorists can now drive from Monterey in the north to San Luis Obispo in the south for the first time in 19 months.
A landslide in May 2017 forced the closure of the roadway in the Mud Creek region of Big Sur. The California Department of Transportation first projected that the repairs would be complete in September 2018 but were able to successfully complete the work several months early.
Visit California and Central Coast area destination partners celebrated the reopening of Highway 1 with a historic convoy of more than 80 cars representing eight decades – from classic vintage, to sleek and modern, to hydrogen-fueled and electric car models.
The iconic highway reopened after more than 18 months of roadway closures, which resulted in tremendous economic losses for businesses along the iconic corridor, especially in northern San Luis Obispo County as travelers rerouted their trips en masse.
The caravan highlighted the iconic highway’s historic past connecting California’s northern and southern regions on one of the world’s most spectacular coastal drives.
“Driving Highway 1 is a bucket-list experience many travelers dream about, and its closure made headlines around the world,” said Caroline Beteta, Visit California President & CEO. “Many communities along this stretch have suffered while the road has been closed. We’re proud to announce to the world today that Highway 1 is open and better than ever, and the Central Coast is ready to welcome travelers looking for the ultimate California road trip.”
Nearly 200 tourism industry leaders, media from around the world and automotive enthusiasts participated in the Dream Drive, which kicked off at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey with a commemorative lap around the raceway track. The convoy proceeded down Highway 1, across the new $54 million, quarter-mile mudslide repair, before ending with a sunset beach barbecue in the shadow of Morro Rock in the coastal town of Morro Bay.