A large section of California's Highway 1 has collapsed into the Pacific Ocean after heavy rain from a winter storm caused serious damage. Nobody was injured as the road had been closed days earlier in case of mudslides and rockslides.

The damage occurred at Rat Creek, about 15 miles south of Big Sur and 50 miles from Monterey. Construction workers from California Department of Transportation had earlier noted that the rain had caused trees, boulders, water and mud to land on the highway. When they returned to repair it, they realised that both lanes had fallen into the ocean, leaving behind a 150-foot-wide gap. Footage taken at the scene shows a large V-shaped scar leading down to the ocean.

The damaged Highway 1 in the US after storm damage
A large section of California's Highway 1 has collapsed into the Pacific Ocean © Nic Coury/Bloomberg via Getty Images

According to officials, debris flow from the hillside above the roadway overwhelmed the drainage infrastructure and eroded the road, causing the collapse. Highway 1 is by far the most scenic way to travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco and is probably the USA’s most famous road trip route apart, of course, from Route 66. It runs along much of the California coast, and is a bucket-list experience many travelers dream about thanks to its incredible views.

This isn't the first time the road has been damaged. Another section of the road was closed for 18 months after a mudslide caused rocks to fall on it and it only reopened in 2018. This fresh incident took place about a mile south of the burn scarring left behind by the Dolan Fire, which ravaged the state last summer. It is estimated that it will cost millions of dollars to repair the damage, and it is unclear how long it will take. Drivers can use a parallel highway, US 101, but it will lengthen their travel time considerably.

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