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Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 3:59 am | Mostly Cloudy 49º


Goleta Halts Hollister Avenue Traffic Improvements Amid Concerns

Planners saw more congestion than they bargained for at the busy Storke-Hollister intersection

Unexpectedly bad congestion prompted City of Goleta officials to halt work on roadway improvements at the Hollister Avenue-Storke Road intersection.
Unexpectedly bad congestion prompted City of Goleta officials to halt work on roadway improvements at the Hollister Avenue-Storke Road intersection. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Cars were backed up so far at Goleta’s busiest intersection last week that city officials forced contractors to stop work on long-anticipated street improvements at Storke Road and Hollister Avenue.

How to best move forward with construction was the topic considered Monday by city officials, contractors, engineers and developers, who ultimately decided to do some work only at night.

“Work was pulled on Thursday afternoon because it was making traffic back up significantly,” city spokeswoman Valeria Kushnerov said.

Work was specifically halted after crews began the process of widening and re-striping Storke Road to provide a third northbound through lane from Hollister Avenue to the Highway 101 southbound onramp, she said.

Adding a lane is the latest effort to improve circulation at the high-traffic intersection — the site of widening projects along Hollister between Glen Annie and Santa Felicia, and a stone’s throw from Camino Real Marketplace and new residential and mixed-use developments such as Hollister Village.

The level of congestion last week was far beyond historical projections, however, Kushnerov said.

Complicating matters was a Southern California Edison project on Hollister Avenue involving new underground lines and traffic signal modifications.

Changes to the westbound right turn lane at Storke Road were also under way, along with widening of northbound Storke to create a longer merging zone, median modifications on Storke north of Hollister, and installation of a storm drain pipe.

Kushnerov said she didn’t know exactly when the work might resume at night — probably next week — but she planned to get the word out as soon as she does.

The city sent a message to community members last Friday, reassuring residents that work at the intersection was expected to be complete this summer.

“We appreciate your patience while we make the city of Goleta a great place to live and work,” the city said in an email message.

Kushnerov said the goal was to have work done before UC Santa Barbara’s fall classes begin in September.

Improvements at Storke Road and Hollister began last fall, with some projects funded by the city because they fall into Goleta’s general plan, and others paid for by developers as part of project mitigations.

Over the next two years, the significant changes are expected to improve the intersection’s traffic circulation.

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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