New bend in the road
Highway 1 jogs inland near Gray Whale Cove as transportation engineers work to reinforce the roadbed and protect it from erosion. Kent Hwang / Review

Commuters may have noticed the roadway on Highway 1 near Gray Whale Cove has been shifted slightly inland as state transportation engineers begin addressing erosion along the edge of the roadway.

In early 2018, Caltrans officials noticed cracks in the road and an eroding roadbed while authorities investigated a vehicle that went over the cliff nearby. Motorists could also see the visible cracks in the roadway.

Caltrans’ first response was to place sandbags along the stretch of road, which is just south of Gray Whale Cove, but it became clear the transportation agency had to act quickly to restore the main artery connecting San Francisco to the Coastside.

Since October 2019, Caltrans has been working to retain the land and repair the roadway, according to Caltrans spokesman Alejandro Lopez.

The emergency project includes diverting traffic away from the damaged section of the road. Next steps include preparing the shoulder on the oceanside for pile installation.

“This work was necessary due to signs of subgrade movement as stress cracking in the roadway developed and expanded,” Lopez said.

The project is estimated to cost about $3.6 million and is state funded. Workers will be doing repairs in the evenings, from around 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., with one-way traffic control during that time. There may be some work during daylight hours but that should not disrupt morning or evening commutes, officials say.

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