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Efforts underway to reduce homeless camps and fire dangers along the freeway

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - You may have seen extensive work lately in the Santa Barbara area corridor where homeless camps and fire dangers existed during the COVID-19 shut down.

Those camps are being cleared out, and improved landscaping work is taking place to prevent dangerous conditions for those in the camps and the public.

You can see some of the changes in several areas including around Carrillo St, Bath St, Garden Street and Milpas St.

Cal Trans Public Information Officer Alex Bertola said, "the landscaping work recently performed along Highway 101 in the Santa Barbara and Goleta areas is to improve the overall foot print of this segment while also enhancing safety for all travelers."

Multiple fires have taken place in the area of freeway on and off ramps where camps are located in recent years. The fires have been reported in a multi-mile area from the Hot Springs Rd. ramp to Los Carneros.

Some have caused thousands of dollars in damage.

Some of the campsites have been so large, and dangerous to the freeway drivers, complaints have come in to law enforcement and government leaders.

The majority of the work on the recent landscaping is being done under a contract with Landscape Support Services (LSS).

At times, to do the extensive brush removal with heavy equipment and hand crews, lanes have been closed down, causing traffic back ups for several miles.

The projects also includes more fencing.

"The new fencing near Highway 101 was installed to prevent individuals from entering areas near the highway which are in close proximity to moving traffic," said Bertola.

(Watch for more details, photos and videos tonight on News Channel 3-11-12)

Article Topic Follows: Safety
Santa Barbara
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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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