Rockslide snarls afternoon traffic on Highway 1 

A small rockslide on Highway 1 Thursday afternoon snarled traffic for hours and will require repairs starting early next week, Caltrans officials said.

Rocks started to fall into the roadway on Highway 1, roughly a mile north of Devil’s Slide just outside the Pacifica city limits, around noon on Thursday, Caltrans spokesman John Cunliffe said. The small pieces of rock from the steep hillside above continued raining down and crews came out at approximately 1 p.m. to clear up the road.

"It’s nothing too dramatic," Cunliffe said. "But it didn’t stop, so we knew we had to come out and fix it."

Caltrans crews cleared out the roadway and put up concrete barriers and fencing to keep the rocks against the hillside Thursday. Additional work to put up more barriers such as wire mesh will likely start next week, Cunliffe said.

Traffic was stopped at the city limits in both directions while the cleanup work was completed. Drivers already on the road had to wait for the cleanup to finish.

Thursday’s slide was a much smaller version of a slide that caused a four-month shutdown of Highway 1 at Devil’s Slide last year starting in April, Cunliffe said. This area, like Devil’s Slide, also has a very steep slope — measuring approximately 60 degrees and rising to some 120 feet, Cunliffe said. The steepness combined with a lack of trees and vegetation on the hillside makes it a prime spot for falling rock, and road closures are not an infrequent event.

Pacifica Councilwoman Sue Digre said that traffic was moving slowly but surely on her drive home.

"I’m worried because my son drives home that way," Digre said. "I’m hoping he doesn’t get stuck out there."

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