Foothill Road in Santa Barbara between Morada Lane and Northridge Road shut down Tuesday because of a sinkhole in the roadway.

Caltrans was alerted to the hazard at 11 a.m. Tuesday and expects the road to be closed for less than a week while repairs are made, spokesman Colin Jones said.

“We’re not sure the cause of it, but the the roadway is sinking and there’s a depressed section but it hasn’t cracked,” he said. “We saw utility gas lines there and called maintenance crews immediately. We don’t want people driving on unstable or hazardous roadway.”

Traffic is being detoured through Willowglen Road and Calle Cita as well as Grove Lane.

“Traffic is getting pretty crazy. What I recommended to my family was to stay as far away from Foothill as you can,” said Joe Guzzardi of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services. “Even upper State Street is gridlocked, and it will only get worse as it gets closer to 5 p.m.”

Jones said crews will work from dusk until dawn to try to get Foothill Road, also known as Highway 192, open before school resumes next week at Monte Vista Elementary. Although maintenance crews are at the scene, he said an emergency contractor will start working on the roadway depression either Wednesday or Thursday.

With many children playing at Willow Glen Park, officials ask motorists to drive carefully and slowly.

Noozhawk staff writer Alex Kacik can be reached at akacik@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.