Update: Monday, Jan. 15
Caltrans announced a projected timetable for reopening Highway 101 on Monday. Read more: Hwy. 101 could reopen as soon as next week.
The transportation problems associated with the closure of Highway 101 in Montecito due to the flooding apparently won’t end on Monday as expected.
Caltrans officials on Friday sent out a notice saying “the estimated opening date of Monday, Jan. 15, is being rescinded and the estimated opening is unknown.”
The freeway has been closed since Tuesday at Milpas Street on the southbound side and Highway 150 on the northbound side.
Huge amounts of mud, water, boulders and debris filled the freeway lanes below Montecito due to the flash flooding that occurred early Tuesday morning after heavy rains fell over the Thomas Fire burn area.
The cleanup and repair are being hampered by the need to search for possible additional victims from the flooding that thus far has claimed at least 17 lives.
“We understand the impact that the closure of Highway 101 has on the people of California. We are teamed up with partner agencies responding to this tragedy and are working 24/7 to make progress toward re-opening U.S. 101, while being cooperative with the search efforts underway,” said Sara von Schwind, Caltrans District 5 Deputy District Director of Maintenance and Operations.
“This is the department’s highest priority, and we are working in close coordination with incident command to get the job done as safely and quickly as possible.”
Motorists may detour from the south by using Highway 126 to Interstate 5 north to Highway 166 or Highway 46 to Highway 101 north.
Motorists may detour from the north from Highway 101 to Highway 46 or Highway 166 to Interstate 5 south to Highway 126 west to Highway 101 south.
Island Packers and the Condor Express are also offering daily ferries from Ventura Harbor to Santa Barbara Harbor during the Highway 101 closure.
More information can be found at http://condorexpress.com/101-closure-emergency-ferry-service/ or http://islandpackers.com/ventura-santa-barbara-emergency-shuttle-information-page/.
For traffic updates in Santa Barbara County, motorists may call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805-549-3318 or can visit our website at: http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist05/road_information.htm.