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Noozhawk Asks: Information + Inspiration for Santa Barbara County

Noozhawk Asks: Why Doesn’t Santa Barbara Find Someone Who Can Fix Flooded Castillo Street Underpass?

Pavers below the freeway are always wet, and reader Suzanne Rogers wants to know why there hasn’t been a permanent solution.

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.

This week’s question: Why doesn't Santa Barbara look outside the area for a contractor who can actually fix the chronic Castillo Street underpass water leak?
— Suzanne Rogers

Day or night, hot or cold, rainy or dry: When one drives along the Castillo Street underpass below Highway 101 in Santa Barbara, the pavement is damp and looks more than a bit slippery.

It’s not a leak, per se, but that stretch of Castillo runs just below the water table — the upper surface of the layer of ground that is saturated with water.

On Monday, Caltrans, which has jurisdiction, will begin installing a reinforced concrete slab 3-to-4 inches above the current pavement. The construction is expected to last through August.

The concrete from the $1.5 million project requires time to cure unperturbed, so Castillo Street will be closed for a few months from Highway 101 to the railroad tracks, as will the southbound highway entrance and exit ramps at Castillo, according to Caltrans.

Detour signage will be posted for drivers and cyclists.

Caltrans spokesman Jim Shivers told Noozhawk that he’s “hopeful and confident” the project will improve street conditions, but acknowledged it’s not a permanent fix.

“The ultimate solution for that location is to demolish and rebuild that location” by raising both the street and overcrossing, he said.

Shivers added that he hasn’t seen a dollar figure for such a project, but noted it would be such a big undertaking that it would require more money than is available.

Caltrans, he said, works with the money and best technology it has, and will continue to find and implement solutions going forward based on that.

It’s not just motorists and cyclists who will be affected by the work, but horses, too.

El Desfile Histórico — the Old Spanish Days parade, this year scheduled for Aug. 4 — takes that route to get back to the Carriage and Western Art Museum, at 129 Castillo St. at Pershing Park, near the parade’s staging area.

David Bolton, an Old Spanish Days board member, said the procession will finish its State Street route by heading east on Micheltorena Street, hanging a right on Garden Street and using the Garden Street underpass to get the other side of Highway 101. From there, horses and carriages will turn right on Yanonali Street, and then head back around to Montecito Street, which it will take over State Street to get back to the museum.

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman 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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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.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

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