The view from the San Ysidro Road overpass at Highway 101 in Montecito.
A view from the San Ysidro Road overpass at Highway 101 in Montecito, a section that is part of the southern Santa Barbara County Highway 101 widening project that will add new high occupancy vehicle lanes in each direction. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

The $89 million in funding allocated for the construction of Highway 101 carpool lanes in the Summerland area was delayed by the California Transportation Commission on Thursday because of a procedural omission of final environmental documentation for the project, a Caltrans District 5 spokesman said.

“We expect the funding allocation to be on the commission’s next meeting agenda in October,” Caltrans District 5 spokesman Jim Shivers told Noozhawk in an email. “Caltrans and the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments are working together to assess any minor delays to the start of construction that was anticipated to occur in October, but do not expect an impact to the overall project schedule.

“We continue to make great progress to improve our infrastructure and provide needed congestion relief for commuters as well as opportunities that increase pedestrian and bicycle access along the coast.”

The southern Santa Barbara County Highway 101 widening project from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara will add new high occupancy vehicle lanes in each direction of the project area. Eight of the 16 miles in the area have been widened, according to project officials.

In addition, the commission this week allocated $80 million in funding for three transportation projects across the state and Santa Barbara County.

State highway projects that were allocated funds include a $42 million project to restore Highway 101 near Summerland in the county from north of the Padaro Lane overcrossing to north of Sheffield Avenue. The project will replace the pavement and guardrail, widen the highway shoulders and upgrade the drainage system.

Another project will replace the Highway 101 overcrossing at the interchange with Highway 135 in Los Alamos, which comes with a price tag of $19 million. The project will address the deteriorated bridge deck, Shivers said.

The commission also earmarked $19 million in funding to install access for inspection of the Cold Spring Canyon Bridge on Highway 154 just north of San Marcos Pass. The project will involve painting of the bridge to prevent further corrosion and provide a protective coating to the steel, Shivers said.

In total, the commission allocated more than $1.6 billion for transportation projects in the state, including about $1.3 billion for State Highway Operation and Protection Program projects, the Caltrans “fix-it-first” program aimed at preserving the condition of the state highway system.

“Our maintenance and construction crews remain hard at work improving California’s transportation infrastructure,” Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said in a statement. “The $1.6 billion allocated will allow the department to continue with critical repairs and upgrades to our highways that will support thousands of jobs that are essential for our economy.”

The commission also approved more than $118 million in funds for rail and mass transit projects, including freight, bus services and intercity rail, according to Shivers.

The allocation will expand access to public transportation and help reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, Shivers said.

The investment includes $77 million for the Trade Corridor Enhancement Program, which is dedicated to projects that enhance the movement of goods along corridors with high freight volume by making improvements to California highways, local roads, freight rail systems, port facilities and truck corridors.

The commissioners also approved nearly $14 million for 17 projects for bicycle and pedestrian overcrossing improvements, to repair sidewalks and bike lanes, as well as provide safer routes to school.

Project funding is derived from federal and state gas taxes, including $1.2 billion from the California Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (Senate Bill 1). 

The state’s portion of SB 1 funds are used for the ongoing maintenance and rehabilitation of the state highway system, Shivers said.

By 2027, the funds will enable Caltrans to fix more than 17,000 lane miles of pavement, 500 bridges, 55,000 culverts and 7,700 traffic operating systems that help reduce highway congestion, such as traffic cameras, ramp meters and electric highway message signs, Shivers said.

Click here for more information about SB 1.

In addition to Santa Barbara County, Caltrans District 5 covers San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.