Monday, July 23 , 2018, 3:29 am | Fair 68º


Local News

Foothill Road Closed for Streetside Hazard Removal in Mission Canyon Area

Traffic is rerouted between Cheltenham and Tye roads as crews begin a $1.7 million safety project

Foothill Road is a heavily traveled artery between Alamar Avenue and Mission Canyon Road, but a number of roadside hazards make the two-lane street feel narrower than it is. Caltrans is out to fix that.

A section of Foothill, also known as Route 192, was closed Tuesday between Cheltenham and Tye roads as crews embarked on a roughly two-month, $1.7 million safety project. An underground storm drain will be constructed to replace the open ditches alongside the street, four-foot paved shoulders will be installed for cyclists and pedestrians, and mailboxes and driveways will be relocated and modified.

The project will be constructed in stages, said Caltrans, which started earlier this month on the south side of the road. Work actually began in February with the removal of 14 trees that were in the construction zone. In all, 31 trees are targeted for removal and replacement nearby.

Currently, there is a full road closure, which is expected to last until July while a large cross culvert is installed and a water main relocated. Detours have been established using Mission Canyon Road, Los Olivos and Garden streets, Constance Avenue, State Street and Alamar.

According to Caltrans officials, the work was scheduled late in the rainy season but early in the fire season to minimize the risk posed by the closure should there be a need for evacuations in the densely populated neighborhood. The agency says it is working with the contractor, San Luis Obispo-based R. Burke Corp., and local emergency responders to identify evacuation routes, if they’re needed. Temporary emergency access, officials said, could be available in early May.

Meanwhile, the Santa Barbara Police Department’s Traffic Section has been on the scene to monitor traffic along the detour route as it crosses residential areas and a school crossing zone at Alamar and Puesta Del Sol Road. On Tuesday, 10 citations were issued to motorists using cell phones or not wearing seatbelts. Police also impounded two vehicles whose drivers had no licenses.

According to police, officers will be present for the rest of the week and thereafter as needed. Drivers who must use this route are advised to plan ahead for congestion during busy travel hours.

In July, crews will begin work on the north side of the street, leaving one lane open for reversing traffic control during construction hours. Both lanes will be open outside of work hours. Caltrans estimates its work will be complete by August.

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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