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Hwy. 101 reopens through Montecito — a day ahead of schedule

Highway 101 reopened through Santa Barbara County on Sunday afternoon — a day ahead of schedule.

Caltrans spokesman Jim Shivers said the highway officially reopened about 12:10 p.m. Caltrans announced on Twitter that highway offramps in the area are still closed, and the agency urged motorists to use extra caution and watch for trucks.

According to Caltrans maintenance manager Chris Chalk, crews removed more than 100,000 cubic yards of material from the highway.

“This was great show of teamwork and they did an excellent job,” said Capt. Cindy Pontes of the Santa Barbara division of the California Highway Patrol.

Pontes said heavy amounts of truck traffic on Highway 101 mean commuters should give themselves extra time to drive to their destinations. She also said officials encourage everyone to carpool or use public transit if possible.

“Please drive with caution around these trucks as they are working around the clock to clear the debris basins before our next storms,” Pontes said.

She added that surface street closures are still in place.

Shivers said Friday that Caltrans crews had been working “around the clock” to reopen Highway 101 by Monday. The road closure forced travelers to find alternate routes and delayed truckers delivering goods and materials to Central Coast destinations.

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Highway 101 reopened through Santa Barbara County on Sunday, January 21, 2018, after being closed for nearly three weeks. Caltrans

Highway 101 has been closed since Jan. 9 at Milpas Street on the southbound side and Highway 150 on the northbound side. Water, mud and debris covered road after heavy rain swept through the area scarred by the Thomas Fire, which scorched the area in December.

The mudslides caused by the rain killed at least 21 people in the Santa Barbara County community of Montecito.

Gabby Ferreira: 805-781-7858, @Its_GabbyF

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