Update: Highway One Chip Seal Treatment

Last year, Caltrans used a larger than normal aggregate to resurface a portion of the world renowned Highway One route north of Cambria. As part of this resurfacing, the roadway became incredibly rough for bicycles and kicked up small rocks into the path of both bicycle riders and motorists. This safety issue has made its way from local to state to national news through popular bicycle groups.

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Soon, thanks to the efforts of numerous advocacy groups, this 20 mile section of roadway will be remedied to provide sufficient smoothing! After a series of test treatments as part of a study by the UC Davis Pavement Research Center, a sand seal will be applied to a portion of the roadway before moving forward with the remaining roadway. The test sand seal is set to be applied in 3-4 weeks.

From an official Caltrans statement:

“I am happy to announce through our association with the UC Davis Pavement Research Center and input from the cycling community, Caltrans is preparing to begin work on Hwy. 1. With this fact based decision we are now moving forward with finding a solution for resurfacing Highway 1.  While the full report continues to undergo review, enough information is available to begin work on Highway 1,” said Caltrans District 5 Director Tim Gubbins.

The results of this study indicate a sand seal treatment is expected to be effective in smoothing the surface of Highway 1.  Caltrans will apply a sand treatment to a short test section of Highway 1.  A sand seal is a sprayed application of asphalt emulsion followed by a covering of clean sand or fine aggregate.

This is great news for coastal riders, upcoming fundraising rides which use this beautiful  route, and motorists who don’t want rocks flung at their windshields.

The selection of this surface treatment follows work by the UC Davis Pavement Research Center and Caltrans that tested eight sections of surface treatment on State Route 198 in Monterey County. 

A sand seal was applied to one of the test sections and resulted in an improvement on the highway, according to feedback from cyclists and specialized equipment used to measure the texture of the highway.

Your Bicycle Coalition will be sure to keep you up to date as the process moves forward. In the meantime more news on the subject is available online for your review:

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Caltrans Releases Highway One Resurfacing Statement

Now that local, statewide and national groups have brought the recent resurfacing of Highway 1 to the attention of Caltrans officials, an official statement has been released regarding the Highway 1 chip seal project.

Caltrans officials are partnering with UC pavement researchers to find effective and affordable ways to make cycling a smoother experience along a recently paved section of Highway 1 in northern San Luis Obispo County. The Caltrans Division of Research and Innovation plans to tap the expertise of the University of California, Davis Pavement Research Center in response to local bicycle enthusiasts who say the chip seal project has made sections of the scenic route a rougher-than-usual ride.

“We’re looking for innovative solutions and are hopeful that this investigation will lead to both short and long-term improvements,” said Caltrans District 5 Director Tim Gubbins. “Caltrans plans to work closely with the local cycling community and UC experts as wesort this out.”

The news comes after an online petition circled by a group within the SLO Bike Club gained over 1,100 signatures in just a couple of weeks.

The UC Davis researchers are currently developing a scope of work to examine conditions on Highway 1 and offer recommendations about various cost-effective surface treatments and how they would service cyclists as well as all users of the highway. Over the next several months, researchers will consider any positive changes that can be made to the existing pavement surface. The investigation will also include any potential long-term improvements to our chip seal program statewide.

In the meantime, Caltrans will maintain its enhanced sweeping of Highway 1 and repairing potholes.

More information is also available online:

The Bicycle Coalition has met with local bicycle riders, bicycle travelers and attended local meetings regarding the issue. This is the first step towards restoring a bicycle friendly Highway One, we will be sure to keep you updated as the process continues.