Following the recent flooding in Monterey County, the Cachagua community has been affected by a road washout located on the grade of Cachagua Road, which left residents with only one access point.
Cachagua, the geographical backdoor of Big Sur, has never been a tourist destination and receives little publicity. This being said, in the span of less than two years, the community has been the victim of two wild fires and experienced a road washout.
Monterey County supervisor Mary Adams conducted a meeting March 4 for residents living in Cachagua and interested in the rapid repair of the road.
“I wanted to get a good idea of what the residents cared about and what some of their challenges were,” she explains, “so that I would be able to voice their concerns at the county level and be able to get the road fixed quickly.”
The isolated community of Cachagua attended the meeting to express their concerns about the importance of access to that portion of the road, not only for residents, but also for first responders. Adams adds that the turnout for the meeting was around 75 residents.
Raquel Rivera, transportation coordinator for Carmel Unified School District, explains that both the buses for the elementary and high school were not significantly affected with the exception of one route.
“The Cachagua Grade Road closure has only affected one special education route, which holds one special education student who attends Tularcitos School,” Rivera says. “Due to the fact that the alternate route to Nassen Road is still open, the closure has not really impacted our route schedules on a large scale.”
Gregg Curry, the fire chief of Cachagua Fire Protection District says that Cachagua Fire was not affected by the Cachagua Grade road closure.
“Our response times have not been affected although due to the road closure traffic has increased,” he explains.
Although many Carmel Middle and High School students ride the bus, which was not affected by the closure, some students were affected in other ways.
A junior at Carmel High, Uri Martinez says that many residents do not have access to the road as the amount of traffic on Tassajara Road dramatically increased. This road is now in use and has added 15 minutes on to his commute.
Adams adds that due to the weather, there has been a lot of progress, and although the county’s original time estimated late summer, Cachagua Road has been repaired as of April 1 and is open for use.