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Tuesday, March 26 , 2019, 12:34 am | Fair 49º


Highway 101 Ramp Closures Could Cause Headaches for Motorists

Delays shouldn’t affect holiday travelers, but little else is clear about the schedule

Orange Caltrans signs at the entrances to Highway 101 on-ramps and off-ramps in the Santa Barbara area are alerting motorists to potential headache-causing “intermittent” overnight and early morning closures, but the notices don’t give much insight as to when.

That’s because the Caltrans engineers themselves aren’t sure exactly which ramps will be closed in what order, only that no two consecutive ramps will be closed at any time — unless necessary to ensure worker safety — and that the public-safety work that began this month should be complete by Jan. 31, weather permitting, -Caltrans spokesman Jim Shivers said.

A pattern of nighttime collisions near Santa Barbara has prompted the latest projects on Highway 101 from Milpas Street to Fairview Avenue.

Overhead-sign panel and light-fixture replacements make up the bulk of work, along with some new “no pedestrian crossing” signs.

Shivers did emphasize that the ramps wouldn’t be closed the days before or after the holidays of Christmas and New Year’s Day.

“The contractor has to work their way through town in multiple passes, sometimes in the inside lanes, sometimes the outside lanes,” Shivers said. “The durations are also approximately one to three hours per closure, depending on what they are installing (delineators or sign panels or electroliers), and they will be leap-frogging closures from the north end to the south end.” 

Drivers will encounter periodic lane and ramp closures Sunday night through Friday morning on northbound Highway 101 — from 8 p.m. until 5 p.m. — and on southbound Highway 101 from 8 p.m. until 7 a.m., he said.

Shivers said all overhead sign panels from Fairview Avenue to Milpas Street would be replaced with reflective signs to increase visibility during wet and foggy conditions.

In an effort to reduce energy consumption and replacement costs, lighting fixtures on the overhead signs will be retrofitted with inductive-sign lights, and electroliers near the Castillo Street ramps will receive LED lights.

The safety project will add 12 more lights to improve visibility on southbound Highway 101 from the Ortega Street pedestrian bridge to the southbound Castillo Street on-ramp.

Shivers said “no pedestrian crossing” signs will be added at all ramps to deter pedestrians from accessing Highway 101. Reflective strips will also be added to the median barrier and metal-beam guard railings to improve nighttime delineation in select locations.

Moorpark-based Traffic Development Services will complete the work for $555,000.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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