Friday, January 19, 2018

Caltrans making progress on clean-up, repair and reopening of U.S. 101 in Santa Barbara County

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) continues to work as quickly and safely as possible to reopen a portion of U.S. 101 in Santa Barbara County covered in mud, debris and water from heavy rains and a mudslide.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 9, a massive mudslide ripped through the community of Montecito, bringing tens of thousands of cubic yards of mud and debris onto U.S. 101 in and around Montecito. Sadly, 21 people were killed, more than two dozens injured and hundreds of homes destroyed.

At Olive Mill Road, U.S. 101 was buried in up to eight feet of debris and mud.

Since then, Caltrans has deployed more than 200 dump trucks, excavators and loaders to remove debris using hundreds of Caltrans crews and contractors working 12-hour shifts, 24/7. Crews have cleared mud and debris from U.S. 101 at a rate of 9,000 cubic yards daily.

The scope of the work was focused primarily on U.S. 101 at Olive Mill Road, where the highway was buried in up to eight feet of debris, mud and water.


Caltrans has established six sites for the safe disposal and stockpiling of material from U.S. 101 cleanup, as well as other properties within Caltrans right of way on U.S. 101, Highway 1 and 150, and at a contractor construction yard in Buellton.

“We are laser focused on the safe, efficient clean-up of US 101 and have established these disposal sites in the overall effort to clear the highways,” said Caltrans District 5 District Director Tim Gubbins.

So far, nearly all of the mud has been cleared, and Caltrans is now in the process of inspecting pavement and overcrossings to ensure they are structurally sound and not damaged. Caltrans is also checking drainage. guardrails, signs and striping that may need repairs before safely reopening the highway.
Nearly all of the mud has been cleared from U.S. 101

"We understand the impact that the closure of Highway 101 has on the people of California. We are teamed up with partner agencies responding to this tragedy and continue to work 24/7 to make progress toward re-opening US 101," said Sara von Schwind, Caltrans District 5 Deputy District Director of Maintenance and Operations. "This is Caltrans' highest priority and we are working diligently to re-open US 101 as safely and quickly as possible."


Northbound U.S. 101 remains closed from State Route 150 near the city of Carpinteria to Milpas Street in Santa Barbara. Southbound U.S. 101 is closed from Milpas Street in Santa Barbara to Padaro Lane south of Summerland in Santa Barbara County.

State Route 150 is open and northbound access is allowed into Carpinteria using Via Real or Carpinteria Avenue. Southbound U.S. 101 is open south of Padaro Lane.


Drivers in the Ventura area can detour from the south using State Route 126 to Interstate 5 north to Highway 46 or Highway 166 back to U.S. 101. Drivers in the Los Angeles or other areas in Southern California can use I-5 north to either Highway 46 or 166 back to U.S. 101.

Highway 46 remains the best option to connect with either I-5 or U.S. 101 because it has four lanes with a wide median most of the 65 miles between Lost Hills and Paso Robles.

Caltrans recommends taking Highway 46 to U.S. 101 or I-5 because it has more lanes than Highway 166.
Drivers in Santa Barbara trying to get to Ventura or Los Angeles can take U.S. 101 north to Highways 46 or 166 east to I-5 south.

Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner is also offering service to Santa Barbara County. Starting Jan. 20, they will add an additional roundtrip service between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara to meet the demand for people trying to get to Santa Barbara. During the closure, Caltrans worked with other partnering agencies to obtain 15 additional railcars to add more than 2,000 seats to Pacific Surfliner trains serving Santa Barbara County.

Caltrans does not have an estimated date of opening of U.S. 101, but U.S. 101 will remain closed through Santa Barbara until at least early next week.

Caltrans appreciates the public's patience and understanding  as we work around the clock to reconnect the U.S. 101 corridor.

For the latest information on the status of the U.S. 101 closure, be sure to follow us on Twitter @CaltransD5 and @CaltransDist7. You can also use QuickMap for real-time information on closures, CHP incidents, and traffic conditions, or the QuickMap app, available for free on Google Play or the App Store.