Fire crews quickly contain brush fire
LOMPOC — Fire crews were able to quickly contain a controlled burn that escaped its control line Friday afternoon in the 3500 block of Jalama Road near Lompoc, authorities said.
The fire was reported around 2 p.m. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department was joined by an engine company with the Lompoc City Fire Department, and the response included a total of five engines, a water tender and a helicopter, said Capt. Daniel Bertucelli, fire spokesman.
The fire burned approximately a half-acre and had the potential for one acre. No structures were threatened and no injuries were reported. Forward progress was stopped by 3 p.m.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
— Mitchell White
Police investigating fatal shooting
LOMPOC — The Lompoc Police Department is investigating a fatal shooting that left one man dead Thursday night.
The shooting was reported around 5:35 p.m. in the 600 block of West Maple Avenue. Police located a 28-year-old man in his vehicle with multiple gunshot wounds. The victim was transported to a local hospital where he died of his injuries, police said.
The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.
Anyone with information or may have witnessed the incident is asked to contact police at 805-736-2341.
— Mitchell White
State Route 1 reopens ahead of schedule
MONTEREY COUNTY — Caltrans announced Friday that State Route 1 at Rat Creek in Monterey County is open to traffic, nearly two months ahead of its target date and a week ahead of the reopening date announced earlier this month.
A full closure had been in place since Jan. 28 when a mudslide washed out 150 feet of the roadway. Crews began working immediately and started emergency repairs March 1. Favorable weather conditions in the area aided the completion of major construction in only 86 days.
“There are few, if any, more iconic routes than Highway 1 — not just in California but anywhere in the world. What this road means to the local economy, to the people of this region and to all Californians is invaluable,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom, who attended the reopening today in Big Sur. “As we rebuild, we do so with the knowledge that the conditions that washed out this section of roadway will become more common in the future. We must fortify our infrastructure with climate resiliency in mind.”
Caltrans phased construction to allow for the rapid reopening even as it completes remaining tasks during the next few months, including tunneling to install the primary drainage culvert that will pass from the canyon, through the roadway and out into the ocean. An inch thick and 10 feet in diameter, this steel pipe will substantially improve water flow capacity during future storms. Caltrans already has installed three culverts closer to the highway grade for a drainage system designed to make the highway more resilient to extreme weather conditions.
“We’re pleased to announce the accelerated opening of Highway 1 at Rat Creek, and that residents, business owners, recreationalists and those who deliver goods can safely travel on this repaired stretch of highway,” Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said in a statement. “While our emergency work continues to increase the resiliency of this highway to severe weather, Highway 1 is now reconnected and ready for use.”
Caltrans also still needs to install permanent guardrail in place of the temporary K-rail, finalize grading features and place erosion control measures on both sides of the roadway. The remaining construction work may require intermittent traffic control with delays of up to 10 minutes. Message and directional signs will alert motorists of traffic control.
Caltrans reconnected the roadway by filling the canyon with 45,000 cubic yards and constructing a new road on top of it. Caltrans estimates the total cost of the repair project and storm damage cleanup is $11.5 million. The project contractor is Papich Construction of Arroyo Grande.
— Mitchell White