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Highway 154 reopens after crews remove rocks and debris from storm

Highway 1-54 closed due to mud slides and debris
Posted at 6:08 PM, Jan 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-05 23:04:39-05

Highway 154 in Santa Barbara County is back open after being closed most of the day Thursday as a result of Wednesday night's storm.

“We closed the San Marcos Pass, Highway 154, for almost its entirety due to multiple reports of rockslides, flooding and debris in the roadway," said Kevin Drabinski, Caltrans District 5 Public Information Officer.

“Many people go that way to Santa Barbara and they just come back. Obviously, they can't get in and into the lake or the road," said Javier Gastelum, Los Olivos Grocery cashier.

Caltrans reopened the highway at 3 p.m.

"We're going to monitor any areas that have flooded or had any debris fall. Knowing that this rain will make the already saturated soil heavier, will lubricate it and could create further issues,” Drabinski said.

During the closure, some employees at the grocery store couldn't get to work.

“They couldn't come to work because the road is closed, because all the rocks there is and, you know, this is a stop for a lot of people,” Gastelum said.

Annie Sweeney was on a road trip with her family and said she had to extend the trip because of road closures.

“We have a rental car, so it is a little bit of a pain because we had to extend it a few extra days and change plans with family on the other end and whatnot, but we're happy to have extra time here as well,” Sweeney said.

Her children — Ava, Andi, Riley, Kaia, and Liam — were excited about the road trip, too.

“We had a lot of bonding time. Yeah, it's been great,” they said.

Crews were sent out to assess the conditions along the highway as soon as the sun came up. They were expected to remain on the scene into the evening.