Caltrans has reopened U.S. Highway 101 in between Carpinteria in Ventura County and Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara County after nearly a nearly two-week closure due to mudslides.
State transportation maintenance and construction crews cleared mud and debris that had closed the coastal north-south artery after heavy rain, flooding and mudslides in the early hours of January 9.
Mudslides killed 21 people in Montecito, and two people are still missing.
The closure included a quarter-mile section of the highway at the Olive Mill Road interchange in Montecito, which was covered in six to eight feet of mud and water.
Caltrans continues the critical work of clearing the drainage system, working on guardrail and sign repairs, cleaning and sweeping the highway, and stabilizing the embankments.
Various U.S. 101 off-ramps in both directions in the recovery zone will remain temporarily closed, however, the on-ramps will be open.
Motorists are advised to be alert for continuing truck traffic in the area and are encouraged to carpool or use alternate forms of transportation including the Pacific Surfliner, which has added rail service.
“I could not be more thankful for the emergency responders, including Caltrans employees and contractors working tirelessly to reopen this critical highway,” Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said in a statement Saturday. “We appreciate everyone’s patience as we ensure that U.S. 101 is safe to open.”
“We are very proud of our dedicated Caltrans staff along with our partner agencies who have responded to this major natural disaster,” said Tim Gubbins, Caltrans District 5 director.
For traffic updates in Santa Barbara County, motorists may call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at 805-549-3318 or can visit our website.
Also, Caltrans’ free Quickmap app will provide real-time information on full closures, CHP incidents, traffic cameras and other important highway information.