MONTECITO, Calif. - [Updated Jan. 21, 2018 at 12:30 p.m.]
For the first time since the devastating mudslides, Highway 101 is again open for traffic between Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. Engineers from Caltrans were anticipating the opening by the morning commute on Monday. The early opening follows weeks of work to clean up from the millions of tons of mud that closed the freeway at the Olive Mill Road interchange in Montecito.
Caltrans cautions some on- and off-ramps will remain closed because police and fire units are still restricting access.
A news conference is planned at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. NewsChannel 3 will carry that live on air and online.
US 101 through Montecito is expected to re-open Monday morning in time for morning commuters, the California Department of Transportation said in a press release Saturday.
The roadway has been closed since deadly mudslides swept through the Montecito community on January 9.
US 101 was closed between Santa Barbara and Carpinteria with about a quarter-mile section at the Olive Mill Road interchange under six to eight feet of mud.
Commuters looking to travel between Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties were forced to find an alternate route to work.
Amtrak and multiple ferry companies have been providing shuttle between the two closed areas and many drivers have been forced to take Interstate 5 to either Highway 166 or Highway 41/46 in San Luis Obispo County to circumvent the closure.
Caltrans is continuing to clear drainage systems and repair guard rails and signs that were destroyed in the debris slide.
“We are very proud of our dedicated Caltrans staff along with our partner agencies who have responded to this major natural disaster,” said Caltrans District 5 Director Tim Gubbins. “We will continue to work 24/7 until immediately before opening the highway. We expect to be ready to open US 101 by the Monday morning commute.”
If the roadway can be opened prior to Monday morning, information will be release on the Caltrans District 5 Twitter account.
Some US 101 off-ramps in both directions will remain temporarily closed, but the on-ramps will be open. Anyone who can carpool or continue to use Amtrak service is asked to do so to reduce unnecessary traffic.
For traffic updates in Santa Barbara County, motorists can call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at
805-549-3318 or can visit their website.