Traffic can proceed today on Highway 101 project in Carpinteria
New developments in Highway 101’s Linden and Casitas Pass project became open for public use today.
On Thursday morning, Gregg Hart, Santa Barbara County Association of Governments chair and Second District county supervisor; First District supervisor Das Williams; Carpinteria Mayor Wade Nomura and Caltrans District 5 director Tim Gubbins gathered before the media at the project’s new Ogan Road roundabout for a preview of the improvements.
The Carpinteria developments consist of widening Linden Avenue to include three lanes, sidewalks and bike lanes, and lengthening its on and off ramps to the freeway. They also include widening Casitas Pass Road and adding new on and off ramps, extending Via Real three quarters of a mile from east of Carpinteria Creek to Linden Avenue and adding a roundabout, and raising the Highway 101 bridges over Carpinteria Creek 10 feet to improve water flow.
Though the Linden and Casitas Pass Project’s completion isn’t a year or more ahead of schedule as was once predicted, Mr. Williams remarked that the new road developments are still finished early.
“Still an incredible accomplishment that amidst the delays of floods, fires and pandemic, to still finish five months ahead of schedule,” he said.
In an interview with the News-Press, Mr. Williams said the project’s early completion is due to the disciplined work of designers and crews, as well as Carpinteria residents supporting the project’s completion with their willingness to have extensive construction near their homes. The Ogan Road roundabout from which the supervisor addressed the media is located right beside residential areas, as well as Canalino Elementary School.
The roundabout is Carpinteria’s first ever, according to Mr. Williams. He said it is expected to have “huge benefits” to the community and to “increase connections.”
“It connects this part of the community, this half on the north side of Carpinteria with the new bikeway project … Those of us that live on the north side of the freeway can get to downtown without even going over the freeway. It’s a pretty amazing concept,” he said.
While the Linden and Casitas Pass project has wrapped up, the next phase of construction on Highway 101 is already under way, widening the freeway with additional peak-period carpool lanes from Bailard Avenue up to Santa Barbara.
In the fall, the Highway 101: Summerland project will begin, widening the freeway there to three lanes in each direction for 1.7 miles.
According to a pamphlet from Thursday’s press preview, the Summerland project will involve the Sheffield Drive Interchange getting reconstructed with two new bridges and new on and off ramps on the right-hand side of the freeway lanes. Greenwell Creek will also be updated with enhancements such as drainage improvements, and the Evans Avenue undercrossing’s sidewalks will be widened.
The Linden and Casitas Pass project was paid for by state gas taxes.
As he closed out Thursday’s announcement with some remarks, Mr. Hart thanked local taxpayers for making the road improvements possible.
“Santa Barbara County voters were also very foresightful, looking ahead and passing Measure A more than a decade ago to increase our local sales tax to provide the local dollars that we need to match those state dollars that deliver projects like this.”