As recent congestion along Highway 101 comes to a head, Carpinteria residents will be pleased to learn that the bulk of the work is almost done. The current phase of the Highway 101: Linden-Casitas Pass Project is expected to be done and dusted this spring, according to Kirsten Ayars, spokesperson for the project.
Initially, the $60 million Caltrans project that began in 2016 was set to finish at the end of 2020, but despite delays related to the Thomas Fire and subsequent debris flows crews have signaled they’re on track to complete work nearly a year ahead of schedule.
When completed, Casitas Pass overcrossing will include two lanes in each direction, as well as a planted center median. Linden Avenue overcrossing will have two lanes in the direction of the mountains and one toward the ocean. Via Real will continue over Carpinteria Creek and run adjacent to Highway 101 to Linden Avenue. The project also includes raising the highway bridges over Carpinteria Creek by 10 feet, new soundwalls along Highway 101, and a new bike path between Via Real and Carpinteria Avenue.
Funded by state and federal taxes, the Linden-Casitas Pass project is a partnership between Caltrans, the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments and the city of Carpinteria to improve traffic flow throughout Carpinteria. It is the third of a four-phase plan to widen Highway 101 to three lanes in each direction between Mussel Shoals and Santa Barbara.
Adding a third lane, the fourth phase of the project, is expected to begin in the spring of 2020. During this next phase, Highway 101 between Bailard Avenue and the city limit (just west of Cravens Lane) will be widened to accommodate an additional lane. While the project will take as many as three years, the disruption will be less than experienced during the recent bridge replacements.
As early as next month, a two-year landscaping program will begin. Workers have already begun to install irrigation along the highway and in medians.