South Coast Highway 101 HOV Lanes


This project, previously known as the South Coast 101 HOV Lanes Project, would add one high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in each direction on US 101 from 0.2 mile south of Bailard Avenue the City of Carpinteria to Sycamore Creek in the City of Santa Barbara. The project is 10.9 miles in length.

Caltrans District 5 is the lead agency for the project. SBCAG is the primary project sponsor. Project partners include the City of Santa Barbara, County of Santa Barbara, City of Carpinteria, SBCAG 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 HOV lane in each direction, resulting in a six-lane freeway within the project limits. A no-build alternative and three build alternatives were considered in the environmental document. The added lanes are proposed part-time HOV lanes, meaning that they will operate as general-purpose lanes during off-peak periods of weekdays and on weekends. Project improvements for all build alternatives are confined primarily to the existing State Highway right-of-way.

Project Purpose

  • 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 Timeline (Milestones)

  • Draft Revised Environmental Impact Report Release - December 2, 2016
  • Public Hearing - December 15, 2016
  • Close of DED Public Comment Period - January 31, 2017
  • Final Revised Environmental Impact Report/Project Approval - October 30, 2017
  • Project Design and Permitting - Fall 2017 - Fall 2019*
  • Begin Construction - Mid-2020*

( * ) Applies to first phase of the project

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 $350 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, called101 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


David Emerson

Acting SB 101 Corridor Manager

Caltrans, District 5 - Program / Project Management

50 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

805.549.3437 Office

805.748.1315 Cell