Santa Barbara city officials announced plans to close Loma Alta Drive while streets and infrastructure management crews prepare the hillside road for “potential storm impacts” over the next few months.
The winding road connecting the lower Westside to Cliff Drive on the Mesa — and about 10 acres on the face of the hill itself — suffered damage from a fire on May 20, 2021, that forced many in the surrounding residential neighborhoods to evacuate.
It was later found that a 23-year-old homeless man was suspected of starting the blaze the same day he was released from the county’s Psychiatric Health Facility, where he was held for 10 days prior for allegedly trying to light himself on fire near the same location on May 10.
Starting October 24, the street will be closed from West Canon Perdido Street on the lower side to Coronel Street at the top, and crews will work to prepare the damaged road and hillside against future storms for the next six months. It’s anticipated that the road will remain closed to through traffic until at least May 2023.
The closure is expected to affect traffic between the lower Westside and the Mesa, including those driving to Santa Barbara City College and McKinley School.
Residents can sign up for the county’s Emergency Management notification system, ReadySBC.org, for alerts and updates on emergencies and protective actions.