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Monday, March 18 , 2019, 5:59 pm | Fair 65º


With SBCC Classes Resuming Monday, Santa Barbara MTD Girds for Bus Line Backups

Ongoing Castillo Street underpass construction expected to further tangle traffic when thousands of students return to campus

The Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District will likely face gridlock and congestion this week during trips to and from Santa Barbara City College.

Ongoing construction on the Castillo Street underpass has forced lane closures and detours, inconveniences that will be amplified when thousands of students return to campus.

“​MTD is experiencing some delays due to congestion, as is everyone who regularly uses that roadway,” said Jerry Estrada, MTD’s general manager. “Delays may increase once SBCC classes begin on Monday.”

Caltrans is attempting to solve the riddle of the continual water seepage at the Castillo Street underpass by installing interlocking concrete pavers. Groundwater seeps have been a decades-long problem at the site, wrecking roads, creating potholes and creating a slippery look and feel for motorists.

The southbound Highway 101 entrance ramp from Castillo Street has been closed for two weeks, and is expected to re-open Aug. 31. That same day, Caltrans will close the southbound exit ramp for four weeks.

Crews hope the $873,000 project, expected to be completed by the end of September, will allow groundwater to drain, while improving road conditions.

Estrada said the existing entrance ramp closure contributes to congestion in the area, which slows down bus travel times.

The upcoming exit ramp closure will require MTD to detour its Line 15x from Isla Vista. Those buses will instead exit on Garden Street, turn right on Yanonali Street, right again on Montecito Street, and then head toward the intersection of Castillo and Montecito streets.

If that detour proves to be too congested for MTD and its bus riders, MTD will exit on Las Positas Road, then continue to Cliff Drive and on to SBCC.

“Every effort will be made to accommodate our passengers as well as possible, given the conditions,” Estrada said.

SBCC also is encouraging its students to take alternative transportation to avoid the congestion.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina 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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