Highway 154 from Santa Ynez to Santa Barbara will remain closed indefinitely due to weather-related flooding, transportation officials said Sunday.
Jim Shivers, a spokesman for Caltrans District 5, said the opening to the culvert is currently under about 35 feet of water and a reopening date for Highway 154 has not been determined.
Heavy rain and debris rushed through the mountains near the 2017 Whittier burn scar area, clogging the culvert.
The challenge crews face is getting to the drain.
#CAwx– CA 154 remains closed indefinitely near Cachuma Lake. A drainage culvert was filled with debris and water during Saturday’s storm damaging the Hwy. CA 154 is closed between Santa Barbara and CA 246 in Santa Ynez. For everything storm related, go to https://t.co/gujtJTUSEj pic.twitter.com/r7WZZZJj9j
— SBCFireInfo (@EliasonMike) February 4, 2019
“It’s kind of like thinking of a wedding ring at the bottom of a swimming pool full of this murky water,’ Shivers said. “We need to figure out a way to get down to that culvert using GPS technology so we can clear that culvert, inspect it and do any necessary repairs.”
Flash flood just wiped out everything below the house. Be safe people.
Posted by Cynthi Bacon on Saturday, February 2, 2019
Viewer video shows a gush of flood waters overtake this highway on Saturday.
“It was that debris wash that ended up clogging up the storm drainage and essentially creating a mini lake against Highway 154 which could be problematic if we’re not able to get it cleared before the next storm,” Santa Barbara City PIO Amber Anderson said.
Initially, Caltrans hoped to have Highway 154 back open by 5 p.m. Sunday.
Highway 154 remains closed indefinitely near Lake Cachuma. A drainage culvert is 30 feet under water and needs to be cleared. Hwy. 154 is closed between Santa Barbara and State Route 246. It is open on the Santa Ynez side. Photos courtesy of Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Dept. pic.twitter.com/fV8tNpB0nz
— Jim Shivers (@JimEShivers) February 4, 2019