The summer of 2016 and the winter leading into 2017 brought unparalleled events to Big Sur. The 'Soberanes Fire', started by an illegal campfire on July 22nd, was recorded as the most expensive fire in US history and burned 132,000 acres. In January and February, California's 7-year drought was broken with record rainfall. The rain was very concentrated on the coast which resulted in landslides and severe earth displacement all along the Big Sur coast.
The Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge was destroyed due to earth movement eating out its foundation. The loss of the bridge splits Big Sur at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park to the North, and the Big Sur Center (post office, Big Sur Deli, Tap House, etc.) to the south.
Further south at Lucia, portions of the southbound lane fell into the ocean. Unstable earth and continuing landslides have forced Caltrans to remove thousands of yards of mountainside in an attempt to realign the road. Highway 1 is closed at that location, and even local residents are allowed past locked gates only at specified times. Therefore the population in this corridor is effectively landlocked much of the time. Some of the affected businesses include:
US Post Office
Big Sur Deli
The Tap House
Big Sur Bakery
Big Sur Bazaar
Big Sur Spirit Garden
Post Ranch Inn
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
The Phoenix Shop
Deetjens Big Sur Inn
South of Lucia, the highway is open but only accessible via Nacimiento-Fergusson Road which runs east-west over the mountains to Hwy 101. The southern border of Big Sur near Ragged Point has an "indefinite" closure due to extremely unstable conditions at Mud Creek a mile to the north. The closure at this end of Big Sur is just north of Ragged Point Inn. The gate is locked 24/7 and not even locals can pass.
Visitors entering Big Sur from Nacimiento-Fergusson Road come out near Kirk Creek Campground. Open businesses accessible from this point include:
Limekiln State Park
Kirk Creek Campground
Plaskett Creek campground
Sand Dollar Beach
Gorda Springs Resort
It is expected that a new Pfeiffer Canyon bridge will be in place by September 30th. The highway alignment at Lucia may be completed by late June, which will provide access up to the broken bridge and allow at least some businesses to reopen. Road repairs at Mud Creek will go well into 2018.