After years of planning, design, funding and construction, bike riders and drivers will soon be able to use new lanes on Highway 101 between Carpinteria and Ventura.
NewsChannel 3 has confirmed, the second phase of the four phase Highway 101 widening project is months ahead of schedule.
"The bicycle lane will be open on Labor Day. Folks can use it right away," said Gregg Hart with the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments. He called the design "fantastic" and very safe. There will be a separation between the vehicles and the bike riders. Previously they shared the road on the busy highway, and in some cases the riders also peddled near parked cars by the ocean sea wall.
By the end of September, the new High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane will be open southbound.
"So we will have three lanes from south of Bailard Ave. all the way to the Ventura area," said Hart. " It is the first time we will have a car pool lane on the South Coast. It will be six miles in length. It will be a part time car pool lane, only in the morning and evening. Southbound will only be in the evening. Early next year the northbound lane will be opening and it will be a fully functioning facility. "
Good weather and very little rain has helped the construction crews tremendously.
"This is actually ahead of time, a year ahead of time, We are really pleased to provide this to the motoring public sooner than originally planned. "
More details and video for this story will be added later today.