California’s Hearst Castle to reopen after pandemic and damage | Radio WGN 720

SAN SIMEON, Calif. (AP) — California’s famed Hearst Castle will reopen to the public in May after a two-year closure due to the pandemic and severe damage from torrential rains that prompted a $13.7 million renovation. dollars.

The steep, winding access road to the lavish home that media mogul William Randolph Hearst built on a ranch overlooking the Pacific has been damaged by atmospheric rivers – storms fueled by long, wide plumes of moisture drawn from the Pacific – in 2021.

The San Luis Obispo County Castle designed by architect Julia Morgan includes a 115-room main house, as well as guest houses, pools and cultivated gardens, according to California State Parks. Construction dates back to 1919.

The access road, which rises 1,650 feet (503 meters) in 5 miles (8 kilometers), was “rebuilt and redeveloped” in 10 months, according to state officials. The project included the replacement and expansion of 1920s clay culverts that had been damaged by torrential rains. Some historic stone retaining walls have also been restored by hand.

The castle sees around 850,000 visitors a year, which means around 22,000 bus journeys cross the access road each year. Some travel as often as every 10 minutes during the summer tourist season.

“Hearst Castle is a state treasure and we are thrilled to reopen this wonder to the public for safe and responsible enjoyment,” California State Parks Superintendent Armando Quintero said in a statement. Press. “We are confident that these one-of-a-kind repairs and upgrades to the roadside facility will serve countless generations to come.”

The castle will reopen on May 11.

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