South Coast Highway 101 HOV Lanes

Project Logo

Please see below or click here for information about the Montecito Segment Sound Walls 

Project Description

This project would add one high-occupancy vehicle lane in each direction on US 101 from 0.2 mile south of Bailard Avenue in the City of Carpinteria to Sycamore Creek in the City of Santa Barbara. The project is 10.9 miles long.

Caltrans District 5 is the lead agency for the project, and the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments is the main project sponsor. Project partners include the City of Santa Barbara, County of Santa Barbara, City of Carpinteria, Santa Barbara County Association of Governments, and Caltrans. The project is funded with Measure A regional sales tax funds, as well as other state and federal funding sources.

The proposed project would add one high-occupancy vehicle lane in each direction, resulting in a six-lane freeway within the project limits. The added lanes are proposed as part-time high-occupancy vehicle lanes, meaning that they will operate as general-purpose lanes during off-peak periods on weekdays and weekends. Project improvements for all Build Alternatives are confined primarily to the existing State Highway right-of-way.

Project Benefits


  • To reduce congestion, decrease vehicle travel times and to facilitate the flow of goods and services
  • To facilitate a mode shift to carpool, vanpool, and bus travel in the corridor
  • To provide capacity for future travel demand
  • To provide for HOV lane continuity on US 101 in southern Santa Barbara County, as planned for in the 2040 Regional Transportation Plan and 101 in Motion


Traffic volume is overwhelming the existing capacity of the U.S. 101 during weekday and weekend peak periods. Route 101 within the project limits typically operates with congested flow (Level of Service F) conditions during weekday and weekend peak periods. These conditions typically occur for two to four hours daily in each direction and result in significant travel delay. Without improvements congested conditions are expected to increase to over ten hours a day by 2040.

Project Schedule

Construction has started in the Carpinteria, Padaro, and Summerland segments and should be completed by the end of 2025. For more information and current updates on this project, visit

Guiding Principles of the Project Development Team

  • Project design is to be compatible with existing community character while addressing user and maintenance worker safety.
  • Visual and coastal resources are to be preserved and/or mitigated to the greatest extent feasible.
  • Adverse impacts to historical and cultural resources are to be avoided or mitigated to the greatest extent feasible.
  • Acquisition of private property is to be minimized.
  • Financial viability is a key constraint; alternatives under consideration should be feasible within the anticipated long term funding stream for the project.
  • Opportunities for stakeholder and public input and involvement will be provided throughout the project development process.

Project Cost and Funding

The total cost of the project varies by alternative. The estimated total construction and right-of-way capital cost is $720 million. Secured funding for the project includes $140 million in Measure A regional sales tax renewal funds as well as other State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) funding programmed by SBCAG, Caltrans, and SB1 competitive funding sources (congested corridors and trade corridors) programmed by the California Transportation Commission (CTC). Remaining funds are expected to include a mix of state and federal transportation funding sources.


A two-year corridor study that examined all modes and involved extensive community outreach was completed by SBCAG in July 2006. This study, called 101 In Motion, developed a vision for long-term mobility along the Route 101 corridor. The study resulted in a consensus recommendation for six elements that, together, will implement a multi-modal strategy to accommodate future travel demand while facilitating a modal shift to carpooling, transit, and passenger rail.

Without implementation of the elements, 101 In Motion forecast that LOS F conditions would exceed ten hours a day in each direction by 2030. Consensus recommended elements in 101 In Motion include:

  • An HOV lane between the Ventura County Line and Milpas Street
  • New commuter friendly passenger rail service
  • Facilitation of transit and carpool use
  • Demand Management strategies
  • Improved operations and transportation communication

Each of these elements includes one or more individual projects. Separate implementation efforts for rail improvement are ongoing; agencies involved with implementation include SBCAG, Caltrans Division of Rail, AMTRAK, and Union Pacific Railroad.

Additional information on South Coast Corridor transportation funding efforts and plans can be found at

News and Events

Proposed Sound Walls Removed in the Montecito Segment

On Thursday, February 3, the Highway 101: Carpinteria to Santa Barbara project held a well-attended Montecito community meeting to review the process and current planning for sound walls. The preliminary feedback provided by the County of Santa Barbara as part of the Coastal Development Permit process includes a requirement from Flood Control to analyze whether the proposed sound walls are within the Special Flood Hazard Areas of the Recovery Mapping, adopted in response to the 2018 Montecito Debris Flow, and whether the sound walls would create a rise in flood waters.

Link to February 3 Meeting Video Recording: 

The 101 Project team has confirmed that the proposed sound walls would create a water rise. The Recovery Mapping assumes that all bridges, culverts, and water conveyance structures are blocked and would not pass flood waters. We also studied alternate wall types and configurations, such as walls with flood gates, staggered walls with openings, shorter walls, and other alternatives that might alleviate this problem. Unfortunately, the options resulted in a rise in flood waters during hydraulic modeling, did not meet freeway safety requirements, and/or would not meet the federal sound wall requirements. Since the walls would create a rise in flood waters, the proposed Montecito segment sound walls have been removed. In place of the sound walls, chain link fencing planted with vines and landscaping will be proposed.

Sound Wall Process

Sound walls are considered through a seven-step process.

  • The first six steps follow federal guidelines for projects that use federal funds. These steps include identifying sensitive receptors, measuring existing and predicting future noise levels, identifying affected residences, reviewing potential noise abatements, determining financial reasonableness, and voting by affected property owners. Property owner voting concluded in June 2021.
  • The last step in the process is the Coastal Development Permit process. This process reviews project features, impacts, and compliance with coastal policies. Sound walls need to be consistent with local policy requirements, including updates since the Debris Flow, to be approved as part of the project.

The project will move forward through the Coastal Development Permit process with County hearings this spring and summer. For general project inquiries or to sign up for updates, please contact the project team at 805.845.5112 or or visit our project website at


Joe Erwin, SB 101 Corridor Manager
Caltrans, District 5 - Program/Project Management
50 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Phone: (805) 458 -1829


For Sound Wall Questions Contact:

Jason Wilkinson, Senior Environmental Planner
Caltrans, District 5 - Environmental
50 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Phone: (805) 540-9165