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Monday, January 21 , 2019, 1:03 am | Mostly Cloudy 57º


Accident Analysis Key in City of Santa Barbara’s Exploration of Highway 225 Future

City Council meeting at 2 p.m. Monday to decide fate of proposed relinquishment of Mesa roadway

Liability concerns have so far stalled the relinquishment of Highway 225 to the City of Santa Barbara from Caltrans’ control. Before making a decision on the Mesa roadway, the City Council might order an in-depth analysis of accident data and potential safety improvements.

The 4.6-mile state highway stretches from the intersection of Castillo and Montecito streets around SBCC, along Cliff Drive and north on Las Positas Road until it hits Highway 101.

Many intersections have high injury rates, with double the average accident rate for a state highway — statistics that naturally concern City Attorney Steve Wiley. He’s suggested asking for a temporary period of legal indemnity from Caltrans with the relinquishment, but Caltrans representatives said there’s no way the state would take on any liability for the road after it changes hands.

At a special meeting Monday, council members could order staff to conduct an updated analysis of the road’s accident data and potential safety improvements that could be implemented if the city takes ownership. Such an analysis will cost between $15,000 and $30,000, according to a staff report.

While Caltrans has agreed to pay some one-time improvement costs, the city would be faced with $367,000 in annual maintenance costs for the highway and a $112,300 price tag to convert traffic signals to the city’s system.

Mesa neighborhood residents have long urged the city to take on the highway to improve pedestrian and vehicle safety.

The council will meet at 2 p.m. Monday at City Hall’s council chambers, 735 Anacapa St. At the meeting, the council could vote to move forward with relinquishment with or without the analysis, postpone a decision or table the relinquishment.

Check back with Noozhawk on Monday afternoon for the latest news.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli 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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