Traffic builds on Highway 166 as drivers are diverted from the 101

101 expected to re-open Monday

Traffic builds on Highway 166 as drivers are diverted from the 101

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Gassing up to sit in traffic, several drivers from out of the area stopped at the Chevron off Donovan in Santa Maria Thursday afternoon. It's one of the closest gas stations to where traffic is being diverted to and from down south. 

"It was slow moving traffic so far. I don't know what it's gonna be from now on but so far it was slow moving traffic," said Driver Isadora Campos, who is making her way from LA to San Francisco.  

Adele Hild and her husband are going north to go south. They estimate they'll spend five to six hours trying to make their way to LAX from Santa Barbara on the 166.

"We have Sirius radio so we can listen to mysteries, classic radio, music and Dr. Laura and I have a book I'm reading so it's wonderful, takes up the time," Hild said. 

Because of all this extra traffic on the 166, Santa Maria's CHP is stepping up their patrols.

"It's not a dangerous road, it's the drivers that you have to look out for. [Things like] people that are impatient, passing over the double yellows, unsafe speed people not paying attention or not used to driving on that road," explained Officer David Medina. 

Much of the 166 has poor cell reception so they advise heading to a call box if you have an emergency. 

"The call boxes do have numbers on them so if you are out of cell range and have an emergency, you can drive to the next call box and give the operator there the call box number and we'll know exactly where you're at," Officer Medina said. 

Cal Trans estimates the 101 will be back open on Monday but Santa Maria's CHP is prepared if they need to offer more relief to their partners down south. 

"If necessary we'll be sending people down to relieve people cause they are working a lot of hours, manning closures and directing traffic," said Officer Medina. 

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