December 4, 2022
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Business owners and landlords speak out as work is set to begin on the Olive Mill Rd. roundabout

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – It is often called the most confusing intersection on the Central Coast, but a solution is about to take place next month where Olive Mill Rd., Coast Village Rd. and Highway 101 meet.

The Olive Mill Roundabout project begins in November.

“The intersection is one of the worst functioning intersections around,” said Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams.

This is a joint project with the City of Santa Barbara, the County of Santa Barbara,  CalTrans, the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments and several other agencies, boards, commissions and committees.

It is an area where drivers are often unsure who’s “turn it is”  and when you add in North Jameson Lane traffic, pedestrians and bike riders, it’s not only jammed up at peak times, but also dangerous.

“It’s a unique intersection and I don’t think I have seen an intersection quite like this,” said CalTrans Corridor manager Joe Erwin.

Very significant work in the first phase will take place into December.
The bulk of the work will be done by summer of 2023.

The project is right where Montecito, which is county property, meets Santa Barbara which is city property.

In a meeting with business and property owners, concerns were raised  about the work schedule, traffic delays, impacts on business and noise. It was conducted by the new Coast Village Improvement Association with CalTrans and government leaders present.

Association President Trey Pinner said, “this is a great way to show off our community this roundabout. It’s designed well, it looks great. We are looking forward to it.  We need it. “

Erwin said, “look for the detours and expect those detours if you are used to a ramp and it is now closed expect those detours.   There will be a signed detour, so pay attention while driving.”

Property owner Jeff Harding said, “It seems like there is going to be a lot of traffic access to Coast Village Road coming through Hermosillo. I’m at that end of the street so it is a lot of traffic.”

The Montecito Inn owners said night construction would be an impact on their hotel, and the financial loss of business would be significant.

Williams said, “construction is not fun but ultimately it is going to be a much better intersection and a much better flow of traffic.”   

Other businesses were concerned about how customers would be able to get in and out of the area.
At times, both the north and sound bound freeway ramps will be closed.

During the work project, there will always be a flow pattern for traffic and the intersection will not be closed off.

Delays, however, could be five to ten minutes. Traffic control workers will be on site.

For those who did not favor the roundabout Erwin said, “and they think there’s nothing that can work here, but you put a roundabout in and people find their way through it. It just clears up the congestion.”

The project will reduce traffic to one lane going in and out of the roundabout openings, with a 20 mile per hour recommended speed.

In the big picture, Highway 101 in the area is still on schedule for a widening project in the coming years, and this roundabout is a piece to the traffic flow solutions.

 Williams said, “it is really going to be crucial to be done before the freeway project comes through so we don’t have as bad of snarls during construction.”

For more information go to: SBRoads.com



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