The unprecedented shutdown of a key section of Highway 101 in Santa Barbara County by the deadly January 9th storm made big news because it impacted so many people.
But, weeks after the 101 reopened, another state highway is still in recovery mode, and will be for some time still.
Colin Jones is with Caltrans District Five, which is responsible for state highways in five California counties, including Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. He says while Highway 101 was covered in mud and debris, sections of Highway 192, especially some bridges, suffered serious damage.
Highway 192 is a two lane state highway which runs from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara, parallel to Highway 101 but up in the foothills. The 21 mile Highway, better known to many as Foothill Road, starts at Highway 150 in the Carpinteria area, and ends at Highway 154 in Santa Barbara.
The Caltrans spokesman says they aren’t sure how long it will take to replace the four seriously damaged bridges, because you have to deal with everything from design and environmental review to actual construction. Enginners think two other damaged bridges can be fixed. Jones says the one good thing about all the work is that they will be able to make improvements to Highway 192 along the way as they repair and rebuild it.
One of the wild cards in all this is work on the debris basins and creek beds above Highway 192, which were the pathways to the damage. Crews continue to work hard to clear them, and prepare them for future storms to try to head off additional problems.