Highway 101 Opening Pushed Back

Caltrans Says Re-Open Date Unknown

Highway 101 near Coast Village Road remains inundated with at least 10 feet of mud and debris. Caltrans has been vacuuming the sludge into specialized tankers, eight of them working at a time. California Highway Patrol Captain Cindy Pontes said on Friday that the 101 would remain closed "indefinitely."
Brandon Yadegari

Highway 101’s scheduled reopen date of Monday at noon has been rescinded, Caltrans announced Friday. Northbound lanes remain closed at Highway 150 (Rincon Road) and through Montecito from Milpas Street to the east. Some southbound lanes of the 101 opened this afternoon at Padaro Lane, just east of Summerland. “Updates will be provided as progress continues to be made,” the release stated.

Drivers using Highway 126 to Interstate 5 north to Highway 166 or Highway 46 to Highway 101 north hit heavy traffic in recent days. An accident on Highway 166 slowed traffic further.

Amtrak going south on Friday night.

The Pacific Surfline is scheduled to run five round trips per day. The trains have been delayed. One rider traveling from Ojai to Santa Barbara said the cars were standing room only. The trip took two hours and the train was going just 20 mph. It was so packed, she said, she could not see out the windows. On the way back, about 12 people were stuffed in the bathroom.

Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) reported that more cars would be added to the trains but that additional service was not possible “due to the significant ongoing cleanup efforts on both the rail corridor and the highway.”

A backhoe prepares to dunk a filter into the mud and debris covering Highway 101. CalTrans has been utilizing the filtration system to prevent debris from clogging their vacuuming rigs.
Brandon Yadegari

A press release issued Friday evening by the agency stated, “Many of the areas impacted by mudslides remain inaccessible to service vehicles, making the rail corridor cleanup difficult as equipment has to be brought in via rail and in between the operation of trains. Additionally, the highway cleanup efforts are in some instances pushing additional debris and water onto the rail corridor. Cleanup efforts will continue through the weekend, which may result in trains being delayed.”

Island Packers and Condor Express also offered ferry rides from Ventura to Santa Barbara. It’s an hour-and-a-half trip costing $32. Many doctors took the boat ride to get to work. Cottage Hospital has 11 mudslide-related patients, as of Friday. Seventeen have been treated and released. One patient — down from four — remains in critical condition, the hospital said.


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