Final phase of Hwy. 101 widening south of Santa Barbara to begin in 2019

The fourth phase of the Highway 101 widening project spans from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara.
The fourth phase of the Highway 101 widening project spans from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara.

Though construction on the last phase of the massive Highway 101 widening project is not expected to begin until late 2019, officials have said the work will start out in Carpinteria and work north toward Santa Barbara.

The phase will add a high-occupancy vehicle lane in each direction of Highway 101 along the 10.9-mile stretch between the Andrée Clark Bird Refuge in Santa Barbara and just south of Bailard Avenue in Carpinteria.

The first two phases, which kicked off the entire widening project in 2008, broadened the freeway between Milpas Street in Santa Barbara and Hot Springs Road in Montecito, and between Carpinteria and La Conchita in Ventura County.

In September, work started on the four-year, $60 million Phase 3 in Carpinteria, which is widening Highway 101 over crossings at Linden Avenue and Casitas Pass Road; reconstructing freeway bridges over Carpinteria Creek; extending Via Real more than a mile so it meets up with Linden Avenue; and improving various bicycle and pedestrian crossings.

The first segment of Phase 4 in Carpinteria, from Bailard Avenue northbound to the city limit, “is most ready for construction,” said Tony Harris, the Highway 101 corridor adviser to the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, which is sponsoring the complex long-term project intended to relieve freeway congestion.

Construction will proceed northbound from there and will likely finish with the segment in eastern Santa Barbara.

The next segment north of Carpinteria ends at Padaro Lane North, and will be followed by Padaro Lane North to the Sheffield Drive interchange, the Sheffield Drive interchange to Olive Mill Road, and Olive Mill Road to Sycamore Canyon.

While officials aren’t bound to that order, Harris said, segments farther south are closer to having their designs finished and permits acquired.

Construction for the 3.2-mile Carpinteria segment is expected to run from late 2019 to late 2023.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.