NewsLocal News


Santa Barbara County earns top honors in Outstanding Local Streets and Roads Project Awards

Posted at 12:18 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 15:18:38-04

The Santa Barbara County Public Works Department earned top honors in the 2020 Outstanding Local Streets and Roads Project Awards, according to a news release.

The awards program — sponsored by The League of California Cities, the County Engineers Association of California and the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) — recognizes cities and counties in the state for creative, cost-effective projects that improve local streets, roads and bridges, said the news release.

The county's Public Works Department received the award for using a tire-derived aggregate (TDA) wall to reconstruct a section of Ortega Ridge Road, which CSAC said reduced environmental impacts, yielded a smaller construction footprint and had a streamlined design, according to a spokesperson for the Public Works Department.

The spokesperson said the pilot project, which was completed in August 2019, was the first in California to combine the use of TDA and a mechanically stabilized earth retaining wall.

Chris Doolittle, engineering geologist for the Public Works Department, said he and other team members began working on this project in 2014 after first being involved in investigating settlement at the site more than 20 years ago.

"It was through coordination with CalRecycle that this pilot project was funded and we received the technical know-how to develop and construct the project," said Doolittle in the news release.

Storm season weather cycles caused the material beneath the road to expand and shrink, which led to cracks, slip outs and constant maintenance. This problem was solved by using 80,000 tires as lightweight fill material to prevent the ground under the road from slipping, according to the release.

Funding for the $665,000 construction project was provided by CalRecycle TDA Grant Funding ($110,000), TDA Pilot Project Funding ($330,000), the Santa Barbara County General Fund ($43,000) and the State Transportation SB1 Fund ($182,000). Additional construction engineering costs were reimbursed by CalRecycle's TDA Grant Funding ($36,000).

"This program's success means we can solve more problems with these new techniques for future projects," said Doolittle.

For details regarding Senate Bill 1 Transportation Funding Projects in Santa Barbara County, visit For a list of scheduled road projects and road closures, visit or contact the Transportation Division of County Public Works at (805) 739-8750.