Business owners and landlords speak out as construction begins on Olive Mill Road.roundabout

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – It’s often called the Central Coast’s most confusing intersection, but next month will be at Olive Mill Rd., Coast Village Rd., and Route 101 measures.

The Olive Mill Roundabout project was launched in November.

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

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

It’s an area where drivers are often unsure who is ‘turning’ and when you add in traffic, pedestrians and cyclists on North Jameson Lane, it’s not only congested during peak hours, it’s also dangerous.

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

The very important work of the first phase will take place in December.
Much of the work will be completed by summer 2023.

The project is right where Montecito (county property) meets Santa Barbara (city property).

In meetings with businesses and owners, they raised concerns about work schedules, transport delays, business impact and noise. It was conducted by the New Coastal Village Improvement Association, attended by Caltrans and government leaders.

“It’s a great way to showcase our community at this roundabout,” said association president Trey Pinner. “It’s well designed and looks great. We’re looking forward to it. We need it.”

“Look for detours, and if you’re used to disaster, expect those detours, and now that’s closed, expect those detours,” Owen said. “There will be a signature detour, so be careful while driving.”

“Looks like there’s a lot of traffic going through Hermosillo to Coast Village Road,” said owner Jeff Harding. “I’m on that end of the street, so it’s a lot of traffic.”

The owners of the Montecito Inn say the nighttime construction will have an impact on their hotel and the financial damage to the business will be significant.

“It’s not fun to build, but in the end it’s going to be a better intersection and better traffic flow,” Williams said.

Other businesses worry about how customers get in and out of the area.
At times, both the northern and sound freeway ramps will be closed.

During the project, there will always be traffic streamlines and intersections will not be closed.

However, the delay may be five to ten minutes. Traffic controllers will be on the scene.

For those who don’t like roundabouts, Erwin said: “They think there’s nothing to work here, but you put a roundabout in and people find their way. It just clears the congestion.”

The project will reduce traffic in one lane in and out of the roundabout opening, with a recommended speed of 20 miles per hour.

Overall, the area’s Route 101 remains on track for widening projects over the next few years, and this roundabout is part of the traffic flow solution.

“It’s really important to get this done before the highway project is done so we don’t get that bad roar during construction,” Williams said.

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