Santa Barbara- S County

Montecito road closure signs ignored by many drivers

Sheriff's deputies intercept and warn

Deputies are stopping many drivers and turning them around at a Montecito checkpoint after they violate road closed signs. (John Palminteri/KEYT photo)

MONTECITO, Calif. - Even with prominently displayed road closure signs some drivers have decided to go around the warning area and proceed into the Montecito disaster zone.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department has had to deal with all the intruding drivers and ask them why they entered the off-limits area.

Notices have gone up that crossing into the zone is a violation of the California penal code 409.5.

Drivers who are stopped by deputies at the checkpoints are told to find an alternate route. Some are using San Ysidro Road which is open, unlike stretches of Olive Mill or East Valley Rd.

The roadblocks will be up indefinitely while clean up crews, utility workers, and heavy equipment are in motion.

There are also heavy patrols on the streets at night where properties are vacant to ensure no looters or criminal behavior takes place.

The roads are not the same in many places. They are broken or limited in space. Some are being used by work crews restoring power, cable or telecommunications with large vehicles and projects that require one-way traffic.

There are also large trucks that continue to move debris and rocks from catch basins and private property. It is estimated that over 150,000 truck trips will be required to complete the cleanup.

Some of the work is less than half completed in the public disaster zones, making the area largely unsafe for civilian vehicles to use the area as they did prior to the catastrophe.

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