Friday, January 12, 2018

Caltrans working around the clock to help clean up and reopen highways across Southern California impacted by storms

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and contractors continue to work around the clock to clear the massive amount of debris, mud and water that has inundated U.S. 101 in Santa Barbara County and other highways in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

Caltrans crews and contractors are working to clear portion of U.S. 101 in Santa Barbara County
hit by slides and flooding caused by heavy rains. (Photos courtesy: CHP Santa Barbara)
Photo courtesy: CHP Santa Barbara)
A series of storms packed with heavy rain and winds overnight Monday caused flooding and slides on state highways and freeways near burn areas, including the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara County and La Tuna Canyon Fire in northern Los Angeles County.

Flooding, debris and mud blocks access to U.S. 101 on-ramp in Santa Barbara County.

Water, debris and mud covers U.S. 101 in Santa Barbara County. U.S. 101 remains closed
from State Route 150 near the city of Carpinteria to Milpas Street in Santa Barbara.
A devastating mud slide hit the foothills community of Montecito between Carpinteria and Santa Barbara, resulting in 17 fatalities, and damaging or destroying hundreds of homes.

STATUS OF ROAD CLOSURES
As of Friday afternoon, the following portions of state highways and freeways are closed between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara Counties as a result of flooding and slides:
  • Santa Barbara County: State Route 192 from State Route 144 west of Montecito to State Route 150 near city of Carpinteria (no estimated time of reopening).
  • Santa Barbara County: U.S. 101 from State Route 150 near city of Carpinteria to Milpas Street in city of Santa Barbara (the goal to reopen was by Monday, Jan. 15, but due to extensive rescue/recovery and clean up efforts there is no estimated time of reopening). 
    • NOTE: State Route 150 is open and drivers can get off U.S. 101 at SR-150 and take Via Real or Carpinteria Avenue for access to city of Carpinteria.
  • Ventura County: State Route 33 from Fairview Road north of Ojai to Lockwood Valley Road in Los Padres National Forest. No estimated time of reopening.
A washout on State Route 33 two miles south of Rose Valley Road in Los Padres National Forest.



CLEAN-UP EFFORTS BY CALTRANS
State Route 27 (Topanga Canyon Boulevard) was also closed for a period of time from Pacific Coast Highway (State Route 1) and Grand View Drive in the town of Topanga, but reopened Thursday night.

A slide occurred about one mile north of PCH in an area that burned during a wildfire in June of last year. A contractor cleared the highway, as well as areas behind temporary concrete barriers (commonly referred to as "K-rails") and debris racks that were installed to limit the potential threat of slides coming down hillsides and going onto the highway.

Area along State Route 27 north of Pacific Coast Highway where mudslide occurred.


Meanwhile on U.S. 101, crews and contractors are faced with the monumental task of clearing a massive amount of debris, mud and water on a major route used by drivers to get from Ventura, Los Angeles and other parts of Southern California to the central coast.

U.S. 101 is a major route used to get to and from Southern California and the central coast.
In addition to clean-up efforts, the approximately 15-mile portion of U.S. 101 that is closed from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara is being used for recovery and rescue operations and allow emergency vehicles and equipment to move about safely.

Some areas are buried in mud and debris that is similar in texture to wet concrete, making it especially challenging to clear roads.
ALTERNATE ROUTES 
If you are in the Ventura or Los Angeles areas and need to get to Santa Barbara and the central coast, or vise versa, here are a few alternate routes you can take.
  • From Ventura/Los Angeles area: Interstate 5 north through Grapevine to State Route 166 west. This will take you to the Santa Maria area, and you can take U.S. 101 south from there to get to Santa Barbara.
  • From Ventura/Los Angeles area: Interstate 5 north through Grapevine to State Route 46 west. This will take you to Paso Robles area, and you can take U.S. 101 south from there to get to Santa Barbara.
  • From Ventura/Ojai area: U.S. 101 to State Route 126 east to I-5 north, or State Route 33 to State Route 150 to State Route 126 east to I-5 north.
  • From Santa Barbara area: U.S. 101 north to either SR-46 or SR-166 east to I-5 south toward Los Angeles.
WHERE TO GET UPDATES ON TRAVEL CONDITIONS/ROAD CLOSURES

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, as well as our partners in Caltrans District 5, which covers the Santa Barbara County area, for updates on closures.

You can also plan your trips and check on travel conditions using Caltrans QuickMap, or the free QuickMap app available on Google Play or the App Store.

Caltrans QuickMap is a great tool to receive updates on road conditions and plan your trips on state highways and freeways.
We understand the inconvenience roadway closures present, especially for U.S. 101, but we are working as quickly and safely as we can to reopen U.S. 101 and reconnect the main route between southern California and the central coast.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by the Montecito mudslide. We thank our agency partners at the California Highway Patrol, as well as other emergency personnel at the city, county and state level assisting with rescue and recovery efforts.