California Department of Transportation



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Santa Barbara Route 101
Milpas to Hot Springs Improvement Project

For questions please feel free to email:
Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs department
50 Higuera Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

(805) 549-3318 or via email at:

For further information contact

David Beard,
Project Manager
50 Higuera Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find out more information?
  Please call 1.888.SB ROADS (1.888.727.6237) or visit the SB Roads website
What happened to the original six-lane widening project?
  In the early 1990's about $70 million had been programmed for a project to widen 101 to a six-lane freeway from Milpas Street in Santa Barbara to the Ventura County Line. In 1993, the draft environmental document (EIR/EIS) was released with a public hearing. Due to the public opposition over the potential loss of landscaping, historic structures and residential homes, the project was halted and funding reallocated. In 1996, $50 million was set aside for several operational improvements from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara, including the Milpas to Hot Springs project.
How is this different than the original widening proposal?
  The original six-lane project was proposed with limited public involvement and only considered improvements along 101. The Highway 101 Improvement from Milpas to Hot Springs/Cabrillo was developed with considerable involvement by the public and local agencies to provide alternatives that serve both local and regional needs and are sensitive to community priorities. The Milpas to Hot Springs project has been designed to ensure that widening of 101 to six lanes in the future is not precluded.
How were local agencies and the public involved?
  In 1994, SBCAG commissioned a consultant to investigate alternatives to avoid highway widening before the year 2015 (Parsons Brinckerhoff Alternatives Analysis of Highway 101 Corridor, May 1995). The Highway 101 Corridor Task Force formed out of the analysis with representatives from the City of Carpinteria, County of Santa Barbara, City of Santa Barbara, County Board of Supervisors, SBCAG, the public, and Caltrans to develop and prioritize a list of operational improvements (Consensus Recommendations). The Milpas to Hot Springs project is one of several projects recommended by the 101 Task Force and approved by SBCAG.
How was this project developed?
  At the initiation of the this project in 1997, a Multi-Agency Team formed to evaluate all of the proposals by the Highway 101 Corridor Task Force within the Santa Barbara City limits. The Multi-Agency Team included representatives from City of Santa Barbara, Architectural Board of Review (ABR), Planning Commission, Historic Landmark Committee (HLC), County of Santa Barbara, City Council, SBCAG, the public, and Caltrans. From June of 1997 to June of 2000, the Multi-Agency Team identified the project needs and developed the four alternatives studied for the EIR. After receiving the communities' feedback on the project during the public comment time, the City of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, and Caltrans, with input from the County of Santa Barbara, selected the preferred project alternative.
What will the project do?

The project includes the reconstruction of two major interchanges, six new or improved bridges, freeway widening, and improvements to local streets and circulation. The project’s main components are listed below.
• Third southbound lane added between Milpas Street and Hot Springs Road/Cabrillo Boulevard
• Northbound auxiliary lane added from Cabrillo Blvd. on-ramp to the Salinas Street off-ramp
• Third northbound lane added between Salinas Street and Milpas Street
• Bridge replacement on Highway 101 at Milpas Street
• Cacique Street pedestrian, vehicle, and bike connection added between Milpas Street and Alisos Street (under Highway 101)
• Roundabout added at Cabrillo Boulevard/Hot Springs Road/Coast Village Road/Old Coast Highway for local circulation improvements
• Improved pedestrian/bicycle access

June 1997 to June 2000 Multi-Agency Team developed project alternatives
March 2000 Began preliminary design and environmental studies
July 17, 2000 Public scoping meeting
July 2000 to May 2001 Completed environmental studies and prepared draft EIR
May 2001 to April 2002 Review and revision of administrative draft of EIR
April to October 2002 Review by Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
Oct 15, 2002 to Jan 15, 2003 Public comment time/community meetings on draft EIR
Jan 2003 to March 2003 Selection of preferred alternative
April 2004 Final EIR and begin detailed design
October 2007 Design completion, contract preparation and right-of-way acquisition
Summer 2008 Begin project construction
Spring 2012 Completion of construction
How will construction affect me?
Construction is slated to begin in 2008 and will take 4 years; each construction stage is approximately 1 year in length. During construction, Highway 101 will have 2 lanes open in each direction during peak driving hours, and Milpas Street will have at least one lane open in each direction during peak driving hours. The majority of construction will occur behind concrete barriers during daytime work hours; some nighttime lane closures will occur.
How can I find out more information?
  Please call 1.888.SB ROADS (1.888.727.6237) or visit the SB Roads website


Last updated: July 12, 2011