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Weather slows work near Gaviota Tunnel

Stormy weather puts brakes on road repairs along the Gaviota Coast

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif.-Wind and rain put the brakes on some road work on Wednesday in Santa Barbara County.

"Just north of the southbound rest area we have a retaining wall project going on as well as some slope repair," said Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs Manager Jim Shivers. " It is an emergency project from last years winter storms, so the rain events that we are experiencing can cause some delays on progress for that job and others like it."

Locals and tourists traveling the 101 through the area are asked to slow down and be patient.

They are likely to notice the rest stop closed.

"It is taking longer than expected, the weather, it is good to have the the rain, and we hope they wrap it up quickly," said Elida Uribe of Buellton. " I know they closed the rest-stop, that is something we need here especially for the travelers, visiting family and hopefully they can wrap it up quickly and safely." 

If more rain causes problems crews will be on hand.

"Our Caltrans maintenance forces are on call 24/7 during these periods of rainfall and expected rain and that goes for the entire winters season for that matter, "said Shivers, " they can respond to any slide activity and assist with any highway closures if necessary."

Shivers said they did storm prep during the summer months by cleaning culverts and drainage facilities and channels.

Caltrans also has bridge projects underway.

"Both are at the San Jose Creek, project number one is on US 101 where we have removed the Northbound bridge, we have implemented a traffic switch with two way traffic two lanes in each direction on the southbound side."

The other is work on a bridge along the 217 on the way to UC Santa Barbara.

During the rainy season these projects and others can fall under what they call Winter Suspension.

If that happens the workers will come back and resume work when temperatures are warmer.

But Shivers said the Caltrans projects along the Gaviota Coast are scheduled to be completed by early next year.

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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