The iconic Highway 1 in California is being re-opened on Friday following major mud slides which cut off the route.

The phased opening at Big Sur will allow visitors to drive the full stretch of the scenic coastal road for the first time in 18 months.

A mudslide on May 20 last year dumped more than six million cubic yards of material onto the roadway and into the ocean.

The earlier than expected re-opening was announced by Visit California.

The tourist office said: “The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has worked tirelessly to rebuild and reopen Highway 1 at Mud Creek, following the slides last year.

“While their efforts continue, travellers need to take into account that there will be intermittent weekday lane closures and roadwork for several months as the recovery project is being completed.”

A new quarter-mile roadway will traverse the site of the Mud Creek landslide making it possible for travellers to continue their drive between San Luis Obispo and Monterey along the coast.

Agents are being requested to advise clients to plan ahead and check for the latest roadwork updates.