Transportation & Land Use Committee Discusses 101 Design

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   May 13, 2021
A preliminary rendering of the highway widening through Montecito, which includes removing trees and plantings in the median while adding landscaping and sound walls to the exterior of the freeway

Earlier this week, the Montecito Association’s Transportation & Land Use Committee received a presentation from representatives from the Highway 101 HOV project, who gave the committee a preliminary sneak peek of design elements for the highway widening through Montecito. 

The project will eventually widen the freeway to three lanes in each direction between Sycamore Creek in the City of Santa Barbara up to Romero Creek in Montecito (west of Sheffield Drive). Also included are the reconstruction of the freeway bridges over Cabrillo Boulevard and a new southbound on-ramp (replacing the left-hand ramp removed years ago). 

Bridges will be replaced at Montecito, San Ysidro, Oak, and Romero creeks. Four new sound walls are included, and this design phase is also proposing to integrate some operational and safety improvements on the highway and ramps. Associated projects in Carpinteria and Summerland are currently underway, with the segment at Padaro Lane beginning construction in June.

The design of the freeway includes natural materials including cobblestones, Santa Barbara sandstone, and native plantings. Due to the addition of another lane of the freeway, the median area through Montecito will get smaller, which will impact the landscaping and mature trees in the median. The project includes sound walls and additional landscaping opportunities on the exterior areas of the freeway, according to project manager Fred Luna. The freeway bridges will feature a muted façade, arches, and timber railing on the barriers, to add to the design aesthetics.

One of the most discussed portions of the project includes the reconstruction of the Hot Springs/Cabrillo Blvd interchange, which includes a roundabout and the replacement of the left-side ramps with right-side ramps. The interchange will also bring back the southbound onramp at Cabrillo Blvd, which many residents and Coast Village Road business owners are eager to see. 

The team will be back in front of the full Board of Directors of the Montecito Association next week. For more information, visit

Also at the meeting, the committee received an update on the next portion of the Hot Springs walking path, which breaks ground next week. That project, which goes from Casa Dorinda to East Valley Road, includes replacing the bridge railing at Oak Creek, repaving a section of Hot Springs Road, and shifting and replacing curbs to build a pedestrian pathway. The pathway portion of the plan includes narrowing the roadway for vehicles, and shifting the bike lane and curb so there is room for a pathway, which will be beautified by the Bucket Brigade. The pathway, which is being funded through a FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) grant related to debris flow recovery, is required to have ADA accessible curb cuts and ramps. The triangle in front of Casa Dorinda will also be worked on, as there was damage to the drainage systems during the debris flow. 

Work begins May 10 and is expected to be completed by June.


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