Castillo Street underpass opens after two months of work

Water leak problem apparently solved by concrete

The Castillo underpass is open after two months of repairs. (John Palminteri/KEYT photo)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Castillo Street underpass in Santa Barbara has opened after a two-month repair project in an area that was often soaking in water.

The problem was linked to an underground spring and the roadway surfaces used over the years were not able to contain it.

In June, CalTrans closed off the roadway and ramps to put in a monolithic concrete pour from side to side. That included a special drain underneath the main surface.

That will divert the water source to storm drains and keep it from coming up into the roadway.

CalTrans Project Manager Kelly McKinley says it has proven to be a good solution to a similar situation on the Interstate in Northern California.

"This is new to our area," McKinley said. "We utilized it up by Sacramento on I-5 several years ago and we have been seeing good success."

De'Sean Bullock says he has been taking detours and the backed up traffic elsewhere has been a pain for weeks.

"I am so ecstatic that it is finally open," Bullock said. "This has been out of way to get to work because I work all the way out in Goleta. This has brought the biggest smile to my face getting off at this exit."

There is also a dedicated bike way as part of the project and easier access for pedestrians going to and from downtown.

Santa Barbara City College is nearby and classes begin on Monday. There was a worry that the project would still be unfinished.

CalTrans said the concrete cured in 28 days, allowing the project to get to the finish line with striping and spruced up landscaping in time for the opening at noon Friday.

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