Mission Street work could cause delays for three months

Improvements set for street, sidewalks and lights

Extensive Mission Street road work begins

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Work is underway to fix the challenging drive on Mission Street in Santa Barbara from the freeway to State Street.

It has been a tight fender-to-fender motorized mess for years.

Bert Vancurler a local resident sees it daily.

"I sit in my house day in and day out and it sounds like somebody is going to come through the fence or wreck into each other." 

He says there are not only issues with the street, but the traffic flow is high and aggressive driving is routine.

A three-month full scale repair job has now begun. The City of Santa Barbara is working with Granite Construction on the project.

Crews had blueprints out and an asphalt cutter working to make their markings and begin digging in. The drive has one of the biggest dips in the city if you hit it too hard.  

"It's ripping their car apart and you can see it tearing the concrete apart," said Vancurler.

The work involves new pavement, curbs, drains, sidewalks, tree removal and sidewalk repairs.

Traffic was bottlenecked Monday when the preliminary work was taking place. Obstacles in the way of the visually impaired coming from the Braille Institute will be another challenge for those around here.

Yolanda Ybarra was making her way from the Braille building to Derf's restaurant and then back over to the bus stop nearby. "I felt the cones with my canes and something in the middle," Ybarra said after getting around heavy equipment in her walkway.

Chad DeWiitt with Granite Construction jumped up and helped out to make sure it was a safe passage.  "He said, 'Don't worry, we will help you get across' and I said 'Thank you.' Every time they do something here they have been very nice to us and I have had some take me across," said Ybarra.

She also said the audible crosswalk system was out of order. The box where you push the crosswalk button, "Usually talks to us and they are not talking to us. It usually tells you do not cross De La Vina, do not cross Mission and what I have to do now is, I have to listen for the surge of the cars."

Essentially, the pedestrian has to guess when the traffic is not present, or stopped.

Vancurler said he has issues with the sidewalk raising up creating an irregular surface.

"There's a couple down the street that I actually kicked and broke my toe," he said.

The project is funded by a Measure C tax fund approved by voters and will last through late September.

In addition, concrete construction on Los Olivos Street from Laguna Street to Mission Canyon Road will begin in early August (before Fiesta) and pavement replacement will begin in late September.

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