Thursday, April 3, 2008

101 project awarded for $46 million


A Highway 101 widening project that Caltrans officials are calling the biggest in Santa Barbara nearly two decades was awarded on Wednesday to Security Paving, a firm from Sun Valley, Calif.
Security Paving was one of seven companies to submit a bid for the project, Caltrans officials said, which is expected to take four years and will widen the heavily congested stretch of highway between Milpas Street and Hot Springs Road.

A spokeswoman for Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, one of the lead agencies involved, said engineers estimated the project would cost $47 million, but Security Paving submitted a bid of $46.1 million — 1.7 percent less than the projected cost.
Colin Jones, a Caltrans spokesman, said construction is expected to begin at the beginning of June.
“This project has been on the books for a long time,” he said. “It’s probably going to be the biggest [highway project] in Santa Barbara since the cross-town freeway was built.”
Jones said the cross-town freeway project — completed in the early 1990s — created a continuous stretch of highway through Santa Barbara. Up to that point, he said an intersection existed at the junction of the 101 and State Street that included a traffic light.
The current project will be conducted in four phases, with each phase expected to take one year.
According to a statement from SBCAG, $13 million of the total cost will be paid for with Measure D funds, while the remainder will come from state bonds.
When construction is finished, a third southbound lane will be added to the nearly two-mile stretch of highway between Milpas Street and Hot Springs Road. An additional lane will also be added northbound between Salinas and Milpas Streets. A number of bridges, including the one above Milpas Street, will be replaced as well.
Other elements of the project include the construction of a northbound merge lane from the Cabrillo Blvd. on-ramp to the Salinas Street off-ramp; a vehicle and bike connection will be added between Milpas and Alisos Streets; a roundabout at the junction of Cabrillo Blvd., Hot Springs Road, Coast Village Road and Old Coast Highway and improvements to pedestrian and bicycle access are also planned.
“We are pleased to begin construction under budget estimates,” said Jim Kemp, executive director of SBCAG. “This first phase of widening is the key to addressing the existing bottleneck in the Milpas area and an excellent example of how our local sales tax is earning us matching state funds to address key Santa Barbara transportation improvements.”
Two lanes will be open through the majority of construction, with some lane closures occurring at night, the SBCAG statement said.
More information about the project is available at

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