California

How to get around the Highway 101 closure in Montecito

Video: Nearly a week after mudslide, Highway 101 remained underwater

Highway 101 near Montecito remains closed, underwater and covered in mud almost a week after the deadly mudslides and floods hit the Santa Barbara County town. Caltrans continues to work to cleanup the highway; as of Monday, January 15, 2018, crew
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Highway 101 near Montecito remains closed, underwater and covered in mud almost a week after the deadly mudslides and floods hit the Santa Barbara County town. Caltrans continues to work to cleanup the highway; as of Monday, January 15, 2018, crew

Since devastating mudslides shut down part of Highway 101 in Santa Barbara County last week, San Luis Obispo County has been cut off from its main route to and from the southern part of the state, leaving many commuters confused to how they will get where they need to go.

With that in mind, here are all the ways to get around the road blocks and reach your destination.

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Driving

If you want to drive (and stay on land the entire time — more on that later), no matter where you leave from in San Luis Obispo County, at some point you’re probably going to have to take Highway 5.

Leaving from North County? Take Highways 46, 41 or 58 heading east until you hit Highway 5.

From South County, consider taking Highway 166 through New Cuyama and Maricopa until you reach Highway 5.

If you’re leaving from San Luis Obispo, the time it will take to go north via 46 or south via 166 is similar, but you might want to take the northern route as it’s straighter, safer and often divided with two lanes in each direction.

Once you get on Highway 5, you can backtrack to Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo or Thousand Oaks on Highway 126, or you can continue your journey south as normal.

Other roads to avoid: both Highway 192 and Highway 33 are closed near Santa Barbara for mudslide cleanup, with dates uncertain for reopening, so don’t expect to be able to hop on those as alternatives, no matter what your GPS tells you.

Also, a note of warning if you’re an iPhone user: Apple Maps is under the impression that you can drive right through the closed section of Highway 101. Don’t believe it.

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Train

An easier solution to getting to Southern California if you aren’t on a tight schedule is the train.

Amtrak reopened its Pacific Surfliner service between Santa Barbara and Oxnard on Jan. 11, after the mudslides and flash flooding in Montecito forced the tracks to completely shut down earlier in the week.

This gives commuters an easy connection from San Luis Obispo to San Diego — though the service warned of delays and full cars because of the road closures.

Because of this, Amtrak encourages passengers to plan ahead if they want to travel this route.

For more information on schedules and delays, follow Pacific Surfliner’s Twitter account.

Ferry

For a more unique way to avoid the road block, the Condor Express, a Santa Barbara-based company that offers whale-watching cruises, is providing a ferry service from Santa Barbara to Ventura.

The company’s website says it’s offering the ferry service through Wednesday, but it could extend service with the highway still closed. It runs from the Sea Landing dock at Santa Barbara Harbor to the Ventura Harbor.

The cost is $32 per person, round trip (discounts are available for seniors and children), and reservations are encouraged.

For more information or to reserve a seat, visit http://condorexpress.com/101-closure-emergency-ferry-service/.

Crews are working to clear roads, including Highway 101, and neighborhoods damaged in the Montecito, California, mudslides. This video shows cleanup work on Friday, January 12, 2018.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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