BIG SUR (CBSLA/AP) — An iconic stretch of Highway 1 in the scenic Big Sur coastal region that was blocked last year by a massive landslide reopened to traffic Wednesday.

The California Department of Transportation says the road that connects Los Angeles to San Francisco would be reopened to all travelers by mid-morning.

The department says construction workers made great progress and the road will open weeks earlier than expected. They had estimated an opening by the end of July.

Highway 1 was blocked by a massive landslide in May 2017, displacing 75 acres of land. The debris slid well out into the ocean, creating 15 acres of new coastline about 9 miles.

Narrow, windy Highway 1 through Big Sur is a major tourist draw, attracting visitors to serene groves of redwoods, beaches and the highway’s dramatic oceanside scenery.

Last year’s rough winter closed at least two other stretches of road in the area, forcing some resorts to close and others to use helicopters to ferry in supplies and guests.

Instead of trying to clear the scenic highway of a million tons of rock and dirt that had come down, state transportation officials instead decided to build a new road on top of it, a project that cost $54 million.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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