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Local News

Council Gets Update on Western Goleta Overpass

Reducing congestion in western Goleta by adding a highway overpass has been under discussion for more than half a decade, and City Council members got an update on the progress of the project on Tuesday.

Planners have been searching for a way to alleviate traffic congestion at Storke and Glen Annie roads and add another access point across Highway 101, which splits the city in two sections above and below the highway.

Adding an overcrossing would improve emergency response times to the area, while giving more access for cyclists and pedestrians, said Rosemarie Gaglione, the city's interim public works director.

The overpass would have a sidewalk, bike lanes and traffic lanes. 

"Originally, it was looked at as just pedestrian and bike traffic," she said, but for a bit more money, vehicle traffic could be accommodated and could allow development impact fees to be used in the process. 

The city has conducted a feasibility study, and will next work with Caltrans on finalizing the project study report, which looks at different options of where the overpass could be placed.

The three likeliest options are located in the Brandon School area.

One option would connect the Hollister Avenue and Entrance Road intersection south of the freeway to the Calle Real and Brandon Drive intersection north of the freeway.

A second would start at the Entrance Road intersection and connect to Calle Real and San Rossano Drive, and the third would connect Hollister Avenue and Ellwood Station Road to Calle Real and San Rossano Drive.

Two public workshops were held at Brandon School early in the process.

"We blanketed the area with mailers and we promised lots of public interaction," she said.

The project will take two to four years just to go through the design and environmental review process, but remains a priority for the council.

The city has $7 million programmed for construction, but doesn't have enough money available for design of the project, and is looking for possible grant funding.

The cost for the bridge, whichever option is chosen, will be between $22 million and $26 million, according to Gaglione, adding that the city will be fully exploring options for the area.

"We've talked about doing this for years," said Councilman Roger Aceves, adding that city staff must have a shovel-ready project so that they are more likely to be approved for grant funding.

Councilwoman Paula Perotte said she was excited to see an update on the project.

"Whatever we can do to get this going. … It's only going to cost more and more as the years go by, and it's much needed," she said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper 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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