Traffic apps showing alternative routes to blame for massive US 101 backup

MONTECTIO, Calif. - U.S. Highway 101 reopened two days ago and already it's causing a traffic nightmare for some folks traveling from Ventura County.

California Highway Patrol is placing some blame tonight on apps like Waze and Google Maps, telling drivers they can bypass the U.S. 101 traffic.

CHP says there were at least six crashes Tuesday just between the morning and the afternoon hours and there were at least 20 road closures around the Montecito area but there were some other issues that slowed things down as well.

Anyone behind the wheel can tell you Tuesday was a traffic nightmare.

One motorist said he had been waiting 15 minutes just to get back on the freeway, another had been waiting 45 minutes to get to his destination.

Mikki Puentes had to ride her bicycle to open up her mother's shop in Summerland after her mother was stuck at a standstill.

"It's ridiculous, if you don't have to come into Santa Barbara or go anywhere, stay home," said Puentes.

That advice is exactly what CHP wants you to do as increased traffic from Ventura County and LA, extra semi-trucks and "looky-loos," inundate the newly opened portion of roadway.

"We've had issues with the Waze App and Google Maps, it's actually having people get off the freeway to transition to our road closures," said CHP Public Information Officer Jonathan Gutierrez.

"People are trying to get off, trying to follow the apps that's what we're believing. They're trying to get around the traffic and our officers are going to direct them to the next turn around point so they can actually get back on the 101 and head north where they were already trying to go," said Gutierrez.

Puentes has a front row seat to the hysteria that has caused.

"Everyone is doing a loop. Getting off, get back on, you have to go back south to go north," said Puentes.

To ease the traffic headache, fill up on patience and just stay on the 101.

"If you're trying to get off on an exit before the Montecito area, there's pretty much no way through when it comes to North Jameson and the 192," said Gutierrez.

The off-ramp at Hermosillo Road opened Tuesday afternoon but beyond that your only turnaround points are the Olive Mill on-ramp to Southbound U.S. 101 at Padaro Lane.

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