highway 101

It’s a weekday tradition, but not a pleasant one. The morning and afternoon commutes mean big traffic backups for miles on Highway 101 from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara.

Caltrans and the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments have been working on projects to reduce the jam, from buses to the recently started commuter train service. The big idea that’s been talked about for decades is expanding the number of lanes on the 101, and a court ruling now opens the door for it to happen.

The CHP is continuing to monitor the storm, with officials saying if it looks like there will be flooding between Santa Barbara and Carpinteria, they will close Highway 101.

CHP Captain Cindy Ponce says if they decide there is a threat to drivers, they will close it immediately.

Highway 101 was closed for nearly two weeks following the 1/9 debris flow in Montecito.

(Caltrans photo)

While there’s been a lot of attention on efforts to reopen Highway 101 in Montecito in the wake of the January 9th flooding, two other key state highways in the region are also closed.

Crews are working on a number of damaged sections of Highway 192, which runs through the foothills of Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito, and Santa Barbara. Sections of it are open west and east of Montecito, but there’s no official estimate on when it will open in Montecito itself.

Caltrans and CHP officials say damage to Highway 101 from Tuesday's flash flood in Santa Barbara County is worse than thought, and the full highway closure in Montecito is now being called "indefinite."

The Thomas fire took yet another unusual twist, when it surfaced in the scenic mountains between Ventura and Carpinteria, created a miles long sea of flame.

The fire had moved west from Ventura through some inland mountains, but early Tuesday evening the flames moved south, even jumping Highway 101 and almost making it to the ocean.  The Coast Highway gave firefighters a wide break to protect homes on the ocean side of the freeway from the flames.

Smoke and flames along a Summerland cliff near Highway 101 brought out the fire department Monday morning.

A burning homeless camp was the source of the flames, off the highway toward the ocean.

A project to realign a dangerous section of Highway 101 in Santa Barbara County is now complete.

Caltrans adjusted the northbound lanes of the highway in the Gaviota area, from the Gaviota rest stop to around Mariposa Reina. The collision rate in the area was five times higher than on similar sections of roadway in the state.

The seven million dollar project included realigning curves on a section of the northbound 101 into one long curve. The shoulders were widened, and the highway median and culverts were also improved.

A man is dead after the car he was driving slammed into the back of a big rig making an emergency stop on Highway 101 on the South Coast.

The semi truck was headed southbound on the highway just before 12 a.m. Friday when it had a tire blowout near the Carrillo Street offramp in Santa Barbara.

The big rig driver realized what had happened, and slowed down while moving towards the highway’s shoulder. The driver then felt an impact to the truck. He stopped, and ran back to find that a car had hit the back of the truck, and bounced into a guardrail.

Photo by Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

A South Coast airport and a major highway reopens, but some flooding issues persist as the storm tapers off on Saturday.

The Santa Barbara Airport -- that had to shut down Saturday afternoon because part of its main runway flooded -- has reopened. Officials say runways were reopened to all aircraft at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, but travelers are warned that standing water is still an issue on roads leading to the airport.

A portion of Highway 101 on the South Coast, which was closed for more than six hours by storm flooding on Friday afternoon, is finally open.

(Ventura County Fire Department Photo)

A section of Highway 101 on the South Coast which was closed for more than six hours by storm flooding Friday is open.

More than two feet of water and mud closed the northbound lanes of the 101 near La Conchita just before two p.m. Friday. Northbound traffic was diverted at the Highway 101-33 interchange in Ventura, and diverted onto the 33 and Highway 150. There were massive delays.

One of the northbound lanes was finally reopened just after eight Friday night, and work is still underway to clean up the rest of the freeway.

After years of design, planning, meetings and work, the Highway 101 project widening from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara has issues with traffic, and an effort to reduce traffic.

A court challenge to the environmental impact report resulted in another review period, with a deadline set for January 31st.

Plans to add carpool lanes to a section of the South Coast will be the focus of a public hearing this week.

Caltrans is hosting the Thursday night meeting to gather comments on a planned project to add HOV lanes between Carpinteria and Santa Barbara.

An early morning traffic accident involving a big rig made a mess out of a section of Highway 101 in Ventura County all day long Thursday.

A big rig headed northbound out of near Central Avenue Camarillo flipped on its side, skidding hundreds of feet. The driver and a passenger were both seriously injured in the five a.m. accident. Two of the three northbound 101 lanes were closed most of the morning, leading to massive delays.

CalTrans and a subcontracting crew were on the side of a rocky mountain this week on the Gaviota curve.

Workers were repairing rock nets there that prevent large boulders from coming down onto the 101 highway.

Traffic is moving better than it has in years through one of the busiest, and what has been one of the most frustrating freeway interchanges in Ventura County.

The Highway 101-Highway 23 interchange is used by more than 170,000 commuters on an average weekday, and it had become one of the most congested sections of freeway in the county. A more than two year long, $37 million dollar project to improve the interchange is now complete.