Friday, July 21 , 2017, 3:48 pm | Fair 72º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Construction Underway for Roundabout at Las Positas Road, Cliff Drive in Santa Barbara

Replacing 3-way stop will be a 1-lane traffic circle in project scheduled to be finished in mid-April

Contruction on the roundabout going in at the busy intersection of Cliff Drive and Las Positas Road in Santa Barbara is expected to finish in mid-April. “We plan to have it open the entire time,” construction manager Tim Gaasch says. Click to view larger
Contruction on the roundabout going in at the busy intersection of Cliff Drive and Las Positas Road in Santa Barbara is expected to finish in mid-April. “We plan to have it open the entire time,” construction manager Tim Gaasch says. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

Construction crews have been tearing up the asphalt at the intersection of Cliff Drive and Las Positas Road in Santa Barbara to make way for a roundabout.

Currently, the T-intersection features a three-way stop between the two arterials near Arroyo Burro Beach.

In its place will be a single-lane traffic circle with several new street lights. The circle would incorporate current and planned bicyle and pedestrian paths that run through the intersection.

The roundabout received considerable public support in 2013 when the City Council approved the feature over a traffic signal as a way to reduce the congestion and heavy queuing that plagues the intersection at peak traffic hours.

Also part of the project is a “raised median refuge island” planned for Alan Road, which is just west of the intersection, off of Cliff Drive.

Construction began Nov. 14 and is expected to finish around mid-April, said Tim Gaasch, a supervising engineer with the city and the project’s construction manager.

The general project cost — including design, construction and construction support — comes out to about $2 million, he said.

Although there are currently plenty of cones and pylons that drivers must navigate through when using the intersection, the junction will still be passable during construction.

“We plan to have it open the entire time,” Gaasch said.

The traffic configuration, however, will change between construction phases, he noted.

In a roundabout, traffic flows in one direction, and cars must slow down before entering. Cars approaching a roundabout must yield to cars already in the circle, which have the right of way.

Although roundabouts cost more to install than traffic signals, the greater safety and less delay associated with traffic circles often make them preferable to other intersection set-ups, city supervising traffic engineer Derrick Bailey said.

Intersections with fewer than 20,000 cars a day entering them tend to benefit from a roundabout, he said.

The junction of Las Positas Road and Cliff Drive, he said, is used by about 17,000 cars a day.

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.

The one-lane roundabout under construction at Cliff Drive and Las Positas Road in Santa Barbara is scheduled for a mid-April completion. Click to view larger
The one-lane roundabout under construction at Cliff Drive and Las Positas Road in Santa Barbara is scheduled for a mid-April completion. (City of Santa Barbara illustration)
The single-lane roundabout at the intersection of Cliff Drive and Las Positas Road will include several new street lights and bicyle and pedestrian paths. Click to view larger
The single-lane roundabout at the intersection of Cliff Drive and Las Positas Road will include several new street lights and bicyle and pedestrian paths. (City of Santa Barbara illustration)
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