Prepare for Construction Delays

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   October 25, 2022
Drivers in Montecito should expect 5-10 minute delays at the intersection of Olive Mill Road, Coast Village Road, North Jameson, and the freeway ramps, as well as on local roads near the construction site, as work begins in November on a new roundabout at the clunky intersection

The project team behind the 101 expansion and associated projects in Montecito are making the rounds this week and next, preparing the community for impending traffic delays. Representatives from Caltrans and SBCAG, along with spokesperson Kirsten Ayars, will be at the Coast Village Business Association this week, followed by a public meeting next Tuesday, October 25, at Montecito Inn. “The purpose of this outreach is to show the community how we are building this roundabout in the most efficient and timely way possible,” said Ayars, referring to the Olive Mill Roundabout, which begins construction in mid-November, the first of the 101 widening parallel projects to break ground.

The Olive Mill Roundabout, which has been in the works for years, will improve traffic flow at the intersection at Olive Mill Road, Coast Village Road, North Jameson Lane, the northbound Highway 101 off-ramp at Olive Mill Road, and the southbound Highway 101 on-ramp at Olive Mill Road. The new, single-lane roundabout is designed for 20 mph, and drivers will see signs for each roadway name at each leg of the roundabout. The center of the roundabout will be planted with olive trees and feature a sandstone retaining wall, and lighting will be improved around the roundabout. Pedestrians will have access with crosswalks around the mountain side of the roundabout, and bicyclists can either take the lane through the roundabout or walk bikes using pedestrian sidewalks and crosswalks on the mountain side. “It will be a beautiful and functional roundabout when it’s finished,” Ayars said. 

While motorists will be able to drive through the intersection throughout the entire construction period – mid-November 2022 through summer 2023 – Ayars reports that the northbound off-ramp at Olive Mill Road will be closed throughout construction as the contractor is staging on the off-ramp. Drivers will be detoured to exit the freeway at San Ysidro Road. Also, the southbound on-ramp at Olive Mill will be closed from the beginning of construction through the end of the year. Drivers traveling south will be detoured on North Jameson Lane to the new on-ramp at Sheffield Drive. “The Sheffield on-ramp is brand new, and up-to-date with today’s current standards for design and merging,” she said. 

The axis between the NB off-ramp and SB on-ramp is where the center of the roundabout will be built, which will be the first section of the project to be completed. “By staging the construction this way, we can keep drivers coming through the intersection,” Ayars said, adding that flaggers will be on-site controlling traffic. “Drivers should expect at least a 5-10 minute delay at the intersection, and on surrounding local roads, depending on time of day,” she added. The majority of the work will take place Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 4:30 pm, with some nighttime construction as needed. 

Once the roundabout itself is built, crews will work on the “corners” of the project, adding landscaping, improving drainage, and putting the finishing touches on the project. “The planter areas at the corners give drivers the navigation to go one lane in and one lane out,” Ayars said, emphasizing that the roundabout will function differently than the Hot Springs Roundabout, which has two lanes. The project will also be built in less time than that project, which was completed in 2009.  

Ayars said that the first few months of the Olive Mill Roundabout construction will show a lot of progress, and a few months following the beginning of construction at Olive Mill, construction will begin on the San Ysidro Roundabout in Spring 2023. By the time the construction starts there, the Olive Mill Roundabout will be able to be partially utilized and the southbound onramp to Highway 101 will be open, in order to lessen traffic impacts to the community. The San Ysidro Roundabout project includes replacing the current intersection at San Ysidro, North Jameson, and the Highway 101 northbound entrance and exit with an oblong-shaped roundabout, and adding a four-way stop on the other side of the freeway bridge, at San Ysidro and South Jameson Lane (near the Miramar Resort).

Next Tuesday, October 25, the Montecito Inn will host members of the community who are curious about the staging and schedule and want to learn more about what to expect. The meeting is from 4 pm to 5 pm. 

For more information, visit


You might also be interested in...