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Noozhawk Asks: Information + Inspiration for Santa Barbara County

Noozhawk Asks: Did the Northbound Highway 101 Project Straighten the Gaviota Curve?

Reader Lynne Sherman wants a straight answer on the Highway 101 realignment project near the Gaviota tunnel

Caltrans finished construction on the Gaviota curve Highway 101 realignment project in late June and reopened both northbound lanes to traffic.
Caltrans finished construction on the Gaviota curve Highway 101 realignment project in late June and reopened both northbound lanes to traffic. (Caltrans photo)

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Question: How many more days will northbound Highway 101 be only one lane at the Gaviota curve? It does not look like the project will straighten the S curve.
Lynne Sherman, Goleta

The $7 million project to realign the northbound lanes of Highway 101 between Mariposa Reina and the Gaviota State Roadside Rest Area was finished in late June, reopening both lanes to traffic, according to Caltrans District 5 spokesman Jim Shivers.

The project realigned the northbound compound curve with a single-radius curve, and also widened the roadway shoulders, made improvements to the median barrier and culverts, according to Caltrans.

The safety project aimed to improve a space where numerous crashes have been reported over the years.

“This new alignment will allow motorists to drive their vehicles more easily through this single curve, improving safety for everyone,” Caltrans District 5 director Tim Gubbins told Noozhawk.

“The collision rate at this location was five times higher than the statewide average for similar facilities.”

San Luis Obispo-based Souza Construction was the project contractor.

The realigned bend, which is located as drivers curve right toward the Gaviota tunnel, can be seen before and after the construction project in the Caltrans photos below.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland 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.

The Gaviota curve on northbound Highway 101 before the realignment project. Click to view larger
The Gaviota curve on northbound Highway 101 before the realignment project. (Caltrans photo)
Once completed, the project would create a realigned and widened northbound Highway 101 at the Gaviota curve, just south of the rest stop and tunnel. Click to view larger
Once completed, the project would create a realigned and widened northbound Highway 101 at the Gaviota curve, just south of the rest stop and tunnel. (Caltrans photo)

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