Construction is starting on major storm repair projects to Santa Barbara County roadways, including the West Main Street entrance to Rancho Guadalupe Dunes county park and Gibraltar Road near Santa Barbara.
It’s been six months since heavy rains pounded the county, causing millions of dollars in damage to public infrastructure and private homes.
The photos really tell the story: roadways with one or both lanes missing, or pavement holding onto thin air after the hillside below was completely washed out.
Debris was cleared and repairs were finished to reopen a lot of damaged roadways and parks, but construction is just starting on some of the major projects.
Guadalupe Dunes county park will be closed for months, maybe even a year, since the Santa Maria River washed out the entrance road of West Main Street.
Work recently started on repairing the roadway, and the section near the park kiosk should be done by August, Public Works spokesman Lael Wageneck said. An emergency bid was awarded to R. Burke Corp. for $338,380 in May.
Public Works still needs to do damage assessments of the park itself and do repairs before it can reopen, Wageneck told Noozhawk.
“Access to the park could be restored within six months to a year. This is a similar time frame to when the road washed out in the winter of 2011,” he said.
Near Santa Barbara, Gibraltar Road has been closed since rains caused major washouts of the steep, windy roadway. The damage disrupted access to communications facilities on Santa Ynez Peak, and for residents and forest visitors who regularly use the route.
Construction was scheduled to start this week on one section of road, so it will be closed to everyone but emergency vehicles and residents who can prove residency, according to the county. Work will be done from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The $2.56 million contract was awarded to Beador Construction Co.
The Ride Santa Barbara 100 cycling race has the climb up Gibraltar Road listed among its race options for the October event, so organizers must be hoping the road reopens in time.
More Storm-Damaged Road Repairs Underway
In the Lompoc Valley, San Miguelito Canyon Road is closed at Miguelito Park and has emergency access only, according to the county. Construction on a $2.5 million emergency repair project started in June.
For Refugio Road, bids recently opened to clear debris and slides on a 2-mile stretch of the road. There’s limited access in the meantime.
The Padaro Lane Bridge in the Toro Canyon/Summerland area needs to be repaired and reopened to vehicles. The county recently awarded the contract to American Enviro Services Inc. for $61,900.
Work on storm-related sinkholes and washouts along Jalama Road was finished in June.
Work is planned for Alisal Road near Nojoqui Falls Park (the park is open for access from Highway 101, but a group picnic area and the falls trail are closed).
Caltrans has been doing emergency embankment work along Highway 1 near Jalama Road. That work is nearly done, and crews will then move about 5 miles south to work on repairs near Ytias Creek Bridge, according to Caltrans.