Road trip? California Highway 1 section in Big Sur set to reopen in September

California Journal

Visitors to California can look forward to the reopening of one of the most scenic parts of California Highway 1 that winds along the Big Sur coastline in September after being closed for more than a year.

Highway 1, or the Pacific Coast Highway, is the state’s best-known scenic byway, starting near San Juan Capistrano and ending in Mendocino County.

California Highway 1 shield
(SPUI via Creative Commons)

Highway 1 winds for hundreds of miles along much of the state’s coastline, hugging cliff tops and passing through some of the state’s best tourist spots. Visitors will see California’s largest cities, many beaches, Redwood trees, Elephant seals, boardwalks, lighthouses, missions, wineries, Hearst Castle and spectacular coastal views.

Currently, however, you cannot drive along Highway 1 past Ragged Point just north of Hearst Castle to Big Sur. The detour route winds inland and adds about 30 minutes to the drive. The featured photo at top of California Highway 1 in Big Sur is about a mile north of Ragged Point looking south. (Fred Moore via Creative Commons)

Caltrans closed that section of road in April 2017 due to dangerous conditions. One month later, a massive landslide — one of the biggest in state history — occurred there at Mud Creek. (An earlier mudslide in March 2017 destroyed the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, which is used to access Big Sur from the north, but it reopened in October 2017.)

 

Big Sur northward view
This view of California Highway 1 near Big Sur includes Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge to the North. (Astronautilus via Creative Commons)

The treacherous stretch of Highway 1 around Big Sur has seen upwards of 60 road closures since 1935. A Caltrans report detailed 56 road closures from 1935 through mid-2000, but there have been many more  since then.

San Quentin Prison inmates and locals, like writer John Steinbeck, built Highway 1. It opened in 1934.

Study: Travel is one of the nation’s largest job creators

People’s love of travel helps make it one of the nation’s biggest job creators, according to a study released today by the U.S. Travel Association (USTA).

The study , which analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that the number of travel jobs rose 17 percent from 2010 to 2016 vs. a 13 percent increase for the rest of the  private employment sector.

USTA CEO Roger Dow said the travel industry often is an “under-appreciated” economic booster.

Last year, the economic output generated by U.S. and international visitors totaled $990.3 billion in direct spending and $1.3 trillion in indirect spending, according to USTA data. The tourism industry generated $157.8 billion in federal, state and local revenue.

Growth in travel is fueling such spending. This year, the number of global outbound trips is forecast to grow between 4 percent to 5 percent, driving by travel to Asia and the United States, according to the ITB World Travel Trends Report 2016/17.

The travel industry directly supports 8.6 million jobs plus 6.7 million jobs in other industries, according to the USTA. Dow noted that travel is a “good” jobs with career advancement opportunities.

Here are some other highlights of the new USTA study:

  • People whose first job was in a travel-related industry reach an average career salary of $81,900 — significantly higher than those whose first job was in nearly any other U.S. industry.
  • Nearly 40 percent of workers who started their career in travel reached an annual career salary of over $100,000.
  • The travel industry is a better career starter for people with less education: Workers with a high school degree or less whose first jobs was in travel reached an average career salary of $69,500, 5 percent higher than the average salary of those who started out in other industries.