Staff Report

Social media in Santa Barbara lit up with excitement that Caltrans confirmed Highway 101 will reopen in time for the Monday morning commuter traffic on Jan. 22. The highway has been closed since the deadly mudslide and debris, while construction crews have been working night and day to get the road back open.

A before and after photo from the Montecito mudslide that clogged Highway 101 for two weeks, and today is the top photo.
Photo contributed

“We are very proud of our dedicated Caltrans staff along with our partner agencies who have responded to this major natural disaster,” said Tim Gubbins, Caltrans District 5 district director, in a press release.

The press release also stated that some off ramps will remain closed, however onramps will be open.

“AMAZING JOB so grateful for our first responders working day and night to open the 101,” said Fari Hadi-on, on the Carpinteria and Summerland Thomas Fire Network Facebook group.

If the highway officially opens to public traffic prior to the Monday morning commute, it will be announced on Twitter (@CaltransD5) and Facebook (Caltrans Central Coast), according to the Caltrans press release.

The shutdown of the highway has impacted not just commuter traffic but visitor traffic as well, with businesses in northern Santa Barbara County being affected.

“I for one have been very inspired by how neighbors have been stepping up to take care of one another during this time of crisis and mourning. As we wait for Highway 101 to reopen, business is not as usual either, even though January has historically been quieter than other months. But I sense a collaborative spirit keeping our chins up, supporting and sharing what we do best: hospitality,” said Tracy Farad, executive director of the Solvang Conference and Visitor’s Bureau.