Residents in Santa Barbara and Montecito can expect to run into “road work ahead” signs since construction on two roundabouts will start in the next six months.
Construction on the roundabout at Olive Mill Road in Montecito is set to start in November, and construction on the roundabout at Los Patos Way and Cabrillo Boulevard in Santa Barbara is scheduled to begin in early 2023, representatives with the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments told the Santa Barbara City Council at its Tuesday meeting.
They are “parallel projects” to the major Highway 101 widening project adding a third lane in each direction for the 27-mile stretch between Santa Barbara and Mussel Shoals in Ventura County.
The widening project was first approved in 2006 by SBCAG and is in the fourth and final phase of construction. Parallel projects are part of a larger effort to reduce congestion along the Highway 101 corridor.
Fred Luna, director of project delivery and construction at SBCAG, said the projects should start construction before the fourth phase of the Highway 101 widening, which includes the segment between Olive Mill Road in Montecito and Milpas Street in Santa Barbara.
The parallel projects were developed for traffic mitigation, Luna said.
“So, it was important to the 101 team to get those implemented early and have those in place before construction started on the freeway,” he said.
The Olive Mill Road roundabout, at Coast Village Road and North Jameson Lane, is within the jurisdictions of the city of Santa Barbara and county of Santa Barbara.
Luna said the Olive Mill Road roundabout was identified as the only solution to reduce traffic at the busy intersection, which includes the busy Coast Village Road commercial corridor and freeway ramps. It is a major route into Montecito.
The other roundabout project is at Los Patos Way and Cabrillo Boulevard, near the Andrée Clark Bird Refuge and Santa Barbara Cemetery entrance.
SBCAG and Caltrans, which are managing the Highway 101 widening project, are working with the City of Santa Barbara on several other parallel projects, including the Union Pacific Railroad bridge replacements at Cabrillo Boulevard and Los Patos Way, and improvements on lower Milpas Street.
The next segment of the widening project is still in the design phase, Luna said.
Construction for the Carpinteria segment of the Highway 101 widening is almost completed.
On- and off-ramp closures have affected traffic on surface streets along the highway corridor. Padaro Lane businesses have struggled with closed off-ramps and detours.
— Noozhawk staff writer Grace Kitayama can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.