Caltrans completes Highway 101 carpool lane project

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California Construction News staff writer

New carpool lanes between Carpinteria and Santa Barbara, largely funded from Senate Bill 1 and Measure A (the Santa Barbara County sales tax), are the first of their kind in the county.

The project added peak-period carpool lanes in each direction between Bailard Avenue and the southbound Highway 101 on-ramp at Santa Claus Lane through the city of Carpinteria. This section of US 101 is used by about 95,000 commuters, truckers, and tourists per day who travel between Santa Barbara and Ventura County and throughout the coast.

“By opening new carpool lanes, we are encouraging people to rideshare and use transit during the most heavily congested periods of the day. This important SB 1 project along the US 101 corridor will serve the people of the South Coast and beyond.”

The added lanes are proposed as part-time high-occupancy vehicle lanes, meaning that they will operate as general-purpose lanes during off-peak periods on weekdays and weekends.

Construction included two new bridges at Franklin and Santa Monica creeks, five new freeway on and off-ramps, six new sounds walls, and upgrades to three intersections.

It’s part of a larger $700-million plan to widen the highway to three lanes between Santa Barbara and Carpinteria to relieve congestion through the highly traveled area.

It’s expected to be completed by the end of 2025 and construction continues in multiple spots along Highway 101 through the area.

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