Loma Fire 90% contained
SANTA BARBARA — Santa Barbara City Fire Department crews continued to make progress Saturday in containing the Loma Fire, with authorities reporting 90% containment of the nine acre blaze that broke out Thursday night on TV Hill in Santa Barbara.
The blaze was reported just before 9 p.m. Thursday and quickly engulfed the hillside, with significant fire activity was observed on both sides of Loma Alta Drive. Two structures were damaged in the blaze, however no injuries were reported, authorities said.
Crews remained on scene Saturday afternoon and into the overnight hours to ensure no hot spots or fire extension occurred.
An investigation into the cause of the fire is continuing. Victor Hernandez, 23, of Santa Barbara, was arrested around midnight Thursday on suspicion of arson and being under the influence of a controlled substance.
— Mitchell White
Arrest made in DUI checkpoint
SANTA MARIA — One driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI and four other drivers were cited during a DUI checkpoint conducted Friday night by the Santa Maria Police Department.
The checkpoint was held in the 600 block of East Main Street from 6 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday. Of the 196 vehicles screened, one was arrested and four were cited for operating a vehicle licensed to with a suspended or revoked license. No other arrests or citations were issued.
Funding for the checkpoint was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
— Mitchell White
Closures scheduled for Highway 101 widening project
CARPINTERIA — Several highway and ramp closures are planned next week as work continues on the Highway 101 widening project in Carpinteira.
From 9 p.m. tonight to 5 a.m. Monday, one northbound lane will be closed from Casitas Pass Road to Santa Claus Lane and North Padaro Lane to Sheffield Drive. A similar closure will be enforced during overnight hours Monday to Friday, according to Caltrans officials.
Starting at 9 p.m. tonight, the northbound onramp at Casitas Pass will be closed for up to 10 weeks, with an anticipated reopening of Aug. 1. Construction of the northbound onramp improvements will begin Sunday night, with the overall closure increasing up to 10 weeks rather than the previously scheduled five-week closure. The closure time frame is based on building new roadway areas on the 101 that will connect the updated ramps, officials said.
From 10 p.m. tonight to 7 a.m. Monday, one southbound lane will be closed from Sheffield Drive to North Padaro Lane and Carpinteria Avenue to Casitas Pass Road. A similar closure will be enforced during overnight hours Monday to Friday.
The southbound onramp at Sheffield Drive will be closed for the duration of the project, with an anticipated reopening date set for 2023. The offramp at Sheffield Drive will be closed for up to 16 months and could reopen by the end of 2021.
Throughout the week, flaggers will direct traffic with alternating lane closures at the Evans Avenue undercrossing. Temporary stop signs will be installed at the intersection of Sheffield Drive and North Jameson Lane for the duration of construction of the Summerland segment.
For the Highway 101: Summerland project, which is located between Sheffield Drive and North Padaro Lane, crews are installing rebar and concrete as part of the Continuously Reinforced Concrete Pavement. Crews will also install underground storm drains and the new drainage features. The southbound lanes near North Padaro Lane will be shifted toward the outside shoulder to allow for median work and to prepare for the upcoming Padaro segment. Changes to the safety barriers and lane striping are expected.
At the Sheffield Drive interchange, work will continue on retaining walls and the bridge span. Concrete will finish curing, and then crews will stress test the new bridge deck. Work is also beginning on approach areas and safety barriers.
For the Highway 101: Carpinteria to Santa Barbara project, officials have employed measures to balance effective freeway construction with environmental protections, specifically related to cormorants, a protected bird species.
“The plan relies heavily on visual deterrents and human presence to help significantly reduce or eliminate the use of air blasts,” read a Caltrans news release. “Please expect to see biologists monitoring the area daily and tree crews rotating visual deterrents. Trees will remain as part of the longterm habitat.”
Crews also continue to build the bridge span at the Evans Avenue undercrossing. Crews have poured concrete before stress testing the new bridge deck. Crews will also work on approach areas.
Concrete recycling is continuing at the North Padaro interchange.
Crews will work transition areas in preparation for the upcoming Highway 101: Padaro segment that begins Monday. SBCAG and Caltrans District 5 will celebrate the start of the construction with a kick-off event at 10 a.m. Monday.
Crews will continue work on southbound 101 and various ramps as part of the Highway 101: Carpinteria project. Work is ongoing on overhead signs, guardrails and other adjustments on the south side of the highway.
Crews will begin preparations for the next stage of the bridge work at the Franklin and Santa Monica Creek bridges. After soil excavation, crews will begin installing underground supports for the new wing walls and sound wall over the bridge.
Crews are installing underground supports near Francisan Court and north of Cravens Lane, as well as between Franklin Creek and Santa Ynez Avenue, between Santa Ynez Avenue and Santa Monica Creek, and north of Santa Monica Creek, for the new sound walls on the north side of the highway. Crews have also installed rebar and then will place concrete blocks. Crews will begin excavating and driving piles for the new underground supports, and noise is expected during daytime work.
Utility relocations are ongoing in preparation of the planned sound wall near Via Real, by Rancho Granada Mobile Mobile Homes and San Roque Mobile Estates.
Crews will continue excavating and driving piles for new overhead signs in the area. Daytime noise is expected.
For the Highway 101: Linden and Casitas Pass portion of the project, the landscaping contractor is finishing up planting. Crews are expected to finish installing plants, clean up site areas and monitor plant establishment periodically.
For more information on the project, visit www.sbroads.com.
— Mitchell White