PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY (HWY 1) CLOSED FROM RAGGED POINT TO BIG SUR 6-12 MONTHS (starting 2/23ish/17)
I live in San Luis Obispo, CA where you can connect to Highway 1 to Morro Bay and up the coast to Carmel. This is a very popular route as it is one of the most beautiful drives in America, so I wanted to let people planning a trip to this area to be aware of this closure.
There is a beautiful old bridge, often seen in photos of this drive, called Pfiffer Bridge. It is crumbling to the point that it cannot be repaired so they are going to tear it down and build a new bridge. Earlier this week when this was announced they throught it would have to be closed for 6-9 months but they have already updated that to more likely a year.
I know this will greatly disappoint people who plan a trip around this beautiful section of California that hugs the coastline so here is what you can do: you can drive up as far as Ragged Point from the South. This is about a third of the way to Carmel. From the North you can drive down to Big Sur. It is the area in between that is closed and there are no alternatives to get back to Highway 101 except to turn back around. That would mean from the South you would go back to Morro Bay and then across to 101 to continue North. You could, if you had the time, drive down from Carmel to Big Sur. Both drives would be beautiful but inconvenient.
There is a old, but magnificantly situated hotel at Ragged Point (called Ragged Point Inn) with both a restaurant and a fast food place so it is possible to spend the night right on the edge of the Pacific, and have a meal. They are going to be suffering big losses in tourism this next year so would be nice to support them. Also, you could visit the fishing village of Morro Bay, San Simeon (Hearst Castle) and depending on the time of year, a hugh colony of elephant seals and their pups, in that area. There is also a fun small town called CambriaPines North of Morro Bay about 40 minutes, so there is no shortage of things to do and see. I am not as familiar with the drive South although I have been on it many times in the past. You could still have a wonderful time in the part that is open. There is some beach access as well.
There was a very large article about the closure in todays' local newspaper (2/26/17) that you could likely google. It is the San Luis Obispo Tribune. I hope this helps some of you thinking of doing this drive to avoid last minute disappointment.