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Castillo Underpass
updated: Dec 04, 2012, 9:08 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

Ok I give in, what is up with the Castillo Street underpass? Several times I've seen crews fill in the pot holes but within days they're back to being bumpy. Last night my small car bottomed out several times trying to navigate that road. Isn't there a permanent solution to this?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 350032 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 09:20 AM

Road got subterranean'd when the 101 stoplights were removed brah.

 

 COMMENT 350034 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 09:21 AM

No permanent solution because the road bed is below the water table after heavy rain.

Many things have been tried over the years to no good avail.

 

 COMMENT 350035 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 09:22 AM

If they can build a "chunnel" they should be able to fix this issue - being below the water table should not matter.

 

 COMMENT 350037 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 09:24 AM

Out of curiosity, how long as OP lived in Santa Barbara? The Castillo Street underpass is below sea level, so water seeps up and destroys the tarmac from underneath. Caltrans cannot keep up with the deterioration.

There is a permanent solution, but there is no money. Both State Street and Garden Street are boat sections; that is, they are sections of reinforced concrete that literally float on top of the water/soil. Pumps are also used to keep the underpass free of water if it happens to seep up, or if it rains heavily.

Long story short, it's been that way for years, and for lack of any money from a local government (the City thinks bulb-outs are a much better use of resources), Caltrans isn't going to fix it.

 

 COMMENT 350038 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 09:25 AM

They should really consider closing all access to the 101 at this intersection.

 

 COMMENT 350040 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 09:27 AM

a horrible, bird poopy, pot holed underpass indeed! Also need to put up safety barriers for pedestrians. A freind and I were walking through when a car left the road, mounted the sidewalk and crashed into the wall where we has just passed! It was a close call and one I revisit everytime I have to walk that way. Dangerous and unsafe...badly designed to save money. Overpass would have been much more sensible.

 

 COMMENT 350041 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 09:28 AM

The could put grates in but the .00001 % of the population that rides skinny tire bicycles get's their spandex panties all in a bunch...

 

 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 09:32 AM

The Underpants needs to be changed..

 

 COMMENT 350047 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 09:45 AM

Hit up CalTrans.. its their property. Then again once they take back all the City parking lots, they should have money to fix it, right?

 

 COMMENT 350048 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 09:50 AM

A good portion of downtown has sea water underneath. One just has to dig below sea level,like the underpasses.

 

 COMMENT 350049 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 09:56 AM

037, I've lived a block from there for many years. This was one of Barney's Bits, back when he worked for the News Press, the never ending water on the road.

Some years ago a system was installed that is used in missile silos. Electronics placed in the walls would keep the water from reaching the street. The system worked great for a number of years. But that's history.

What's happening now is Cal Trans comes out once a month and fills the pot holes with asphalt. But the steady source of water turns it to mush and the bumps just get bigger. Now I use the other lane.

041has an idea I agree with. Install an elevated grate two inches above the pavement. That might help.

 

 COMMENT 350051P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 10:02 AM

Coming through there this morning I notice that it was far worse then it has been in a long while. Caltrans has been trying to get this fixed for years. No luck

 

 COMMENT 350053 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 10:10 AM

Re: 041 Alas, isn't it always the fault of our town's bicyclists? Things would be so much better if everyone just drove a car like they were supposed to!

 

 COMMENT 350059 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 10:22 AM

It sounds like the original design and build of the underpants were at fault to begin with. Why doesn't CalTrans/City of SB sue the architect and contractor to get the funds to get it fixed?

Better yet, the citizens should sue CalTrans/City of SB for negligence. It was the only way to fix the Rancho Vista slide (Rte 144) which CalTrans totally screwed up.

Good luck on getting the road fixed.

 

 COMMENT 350063 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 10:36 AM

I'm no expert but I don't think the sea water leeches all the way into downtown. Many buildings and homes have basements. Wouldn't they be flooding like this?

Look at the Garden street underpass on the 101. It's dry unless it's raining.

I believe the water at Castillo is fresh water from a spring.

059, I think Cal Trans was planning on doing just that, but I heard this many moons ago.

Btw, have you seen what is going on with Mission creek at the train station? Big projects like this are not dead.

 

 COMMENT 350064P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 10:38 AM

Have Caltrans step up to the plate and be responsible for their actions-With the money they have , they probably have about 20 people doing nothing in their SB Office (and if they know how to read -they are probably looking at Edhat)?

 

 COMMENT 350065 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 10:42 AM

The word is underpass.

 

 COMMENT 350072 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 11:03 AM

Remember the big rains of 1995?

The pumping system failed at the Garden Street underpass and we had people rowing through it in boats and diving from the overpass into the 15' high water.

Now that was a sight!

 

 COMMENT 350084P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 11:28 AM

072, if you've got pics of that please post. Love to see them.

 

 COMMENT 350090 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 11:46 AM

Yes they installed some kind of system with copper to prevent the water from coming up. I worked on the last fix.

 

 COMMENT 350091 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 11:48 AM

There are probably people on edhat who have been here long enough know that sea water encroaches into town.Used to be that the springs and creeks kept the water clean buy pushing saltwater into the ocean.Population increases have taken all that fresh water away from the naturally occuring hydraulics that push seawater out.In In the late 60's and early 70's we had volantary water rationing.I was a kid and could'nt wash my moms car because there was not enough water than either.Santa Barbaras old Terra-cotta sewer system is a hundred years old in some places still.Broken by many earthquakes large and small some of the sewage leaks,runs downhill, winds up in the creeks.Again, not enough hydraulics keeps the pollution counts high at the beaches when it rains and in the creeks in the dry months.Sorry If i expanded the sewer spill conversation to much.

 

 COMMENT 350110 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 12:19 PM

065-I think you got caught up in a a "Rogerism".Keep it up Roger.

 

 COMMENT 350126 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 12:44 PM

I remember the flood of 1995 and pictures of folks paddling on garden street underpass. Castillo street does have a spring close to the genealogical library. It has been a problem since I was in high school. And there are places where sea water seeps after a storm.

 

 COMMENT 350127 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 12:46 PM

0110... Yup, another one tagged and released.

 

 COMMENT 350237P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 04:16 PM

053. As a local who drives, bikes, walks and rides MTD, I love your comeback.

Too bad more people don't ride their bikes. Castillo under the highway is a bad spot for bicyclists. I used to have lots of fun trying to negotiate it on my road bike en route to SBCC. The southern route being more problematic. It's always wet and pothole ridden, it seems.

I get a kick out of people not knowing basic SB facts. Good to bone up on things like proximity to sea level and best roads to avoid, especially during certain times of the year.

In '95, those yahoos diving into that seasonal pool at Garden St. were pea-brained. That water was filthy.

 

 COMMENT 350241 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 04:26 PM

237P, you get a kick from people not knowing? So how do you explain the Garden street 101 underpass being dry, even though it's the same distance from the ocean as Castillo?

And everyone knows '95 was unusual, hence the high water mark visible today at Home Improvement.

 

 COMMENT 350247 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 04:53 PM

Dan39 - The Garden Street/101 underpass is kept dry by an expensive pumping system which Castillo does not have (and for which the location may not be suited.)

 

 COMMENT 350267 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 06:02 PM

Simple...funnel some highway funds into this. Build another underpass but this time. Change the grade up 3 percent on the 101 a mile from the bridge and build a taller bridge and raise the grade of the underpass. That will make it so there is less water and more of a chance for pumps to actually work.

 

 COMMENT 350272 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 06:12 PM

The sea level idea is bs. The city doesn't have it to sue CALTRANS for water that runs from state highway to city street.

 

 COMMENT 350288 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 06:27 PM

Sorry 247, Castillo has a natural spring. Even the most expensive Cold War missile silo technology didn't work.

 

 COMMENT 350292 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 06:39 PM

Folks, it is the fresh water table not ocean water that is the problem at the Castillo underpass. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_table

 

 COMMENT 350306 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 07:14 PM

Dan39 - No problem. I wasn't debating the existence of a spring beneath Castillo, I was simply explaining how Garden is kept dry during extreme weather.

The pumping system can be found by googling through county records.

 

 COMMENT 350308 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 07:18 PM

Doesn't matter if its spring water or ocean water, point is,there is water under there. Maybe use a different off ramp, this town is so small it doesn't matter which one you get off at after a few blocks you'll get to your destination anyways.Problem solved. The real pot hole problem is the slow lane freeway stretch between Fairview and Turnpike...yikes!!!

 

 COMMENT 350312 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 07:23 PM

Fact: The State only has so much "pie" to divide up... The number of people in CA on social welfare from food debit cards, free medical, subidized housing and educating all the kids is exploding every year... You won't hear Das Williams, Lois Capps or ANY other politician have an open discussion on this. THEREFORE, our State's infrastructure(s) are taking the hit- You can't have everything-

 

 COMMENT 350329 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 07:57 PM

041 - how would a grate do anything? Put a mesh on top of a glass of water and the water is still there. It's not going to drain anywhere if it sits at the water table.

Ultimately there would have to be some really expensive solution - raise the whole road up high enough to stay dry, do whatever they do in the Chunnel, and so on. It's been wet and a mess forever.

 

 COMMENT 350331P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 07:58 PM

Are there really wells in downtown Santa Barbara that have depleted groundwater so that we have have saltwater intrusion 1/2 mile inland? I'm surprised that we have the kind of vegetation that's currently there.
Do we have a natural spring that flows only when it rains and floods the underpass?
Do we have adequate diversion of rainwater from ground that's higher than the underpass?
I drove south through the underpass last night, and I think you could do serious damage to a car driving the speed limit over some of these big ones. I bet you could lose a case of beer in some of these potholes.

 

 COMMENT 350338P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 08:18 PM

Let's go green with the solution. We could put each vehicle on a little wooden barge and have Sal the mule pull it by rope to the other side.

 

 COMMENT 350347P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-04 09:22 PM

Leaving The Fish House a couple nights ago, we hit a deep pocket of water that bent the front plate forward, one of the side cameras are screwy and the fifth door won't unlock using the remote.

 

 COMMENT 350362P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 01:09 AM

When driving over potholes . . . slow down. Der.

 

 COMMENT 350418 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 08:56 AM

Skip all of the population, global warming and other attempts to turn the fiasco of that underpass into some kind of political agenda. The story is simple. The state did not want to spend the money to construct the undercrossing correctly in the first place , like the Garden street undercrossing which allows no seepage and intrusion and only floods from above ground surface run-off in very heavy rain. The number and incredible costs of the attempts to correct or belatedly "fix" the defective Castillo street undercrossing far exceeds what it would have cost to have done it right. This is a classic lesson in the incompetence in governmental bureaucracy that should be used as a life lesson. I know Frank Frost would agree with this assessment. He always advocated for doing it right in the first place.

 

 COMMENT 350422 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 09:02 AM

I'm guessing you haven't been in SB very long.

 

 CHICA agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 09:53 AM

I think a good idea 041. I was going to say to put a steel plate over the holes. Like they do when street work is being done.

 

 COMMENT 350481 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 10:34 AM

The wells are in the foothills behind you,not downtown.Think Rattlesnake canyon,Mission canyon and so on.All watersheds.All lead to the ocean,so yes population increases adversly affects ALL water tables.

 

 LUCKY 777 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 10:50 AM

Once upon a time the spring that is located just a short distance towards the ocean from the underpass in question was capped off by the Potter Hotel. It had been a Chumash "healing spring" for centuries, and if you want a solution for this issue of drainage it is to open up that spring, divert the water, thereby choosing its course instead of it finding a way up at the low point on Castillo. It is no doubt contaminated water now, after the St Paul Cleaners debacle poisoned the downtown groundwater, but there could be SOME way to relieve the natural pressure and keep it from flowing into the underpass.

 

 FRANKFROST agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 11:42 AM

The company that built the underpass (which should remain nameless) had the low bid, because they ignored the low water table. However, tunnels and underpasses have been builte below the water table for more than 250 years! England, US, Holland, etc. It was just the original construction company cheating. Why does no one know this? And sue the bastards!

 

 COMMENT 350542 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 12:19 PM

Maybe the Urban Hikers can use altimeters, walk from the fountain at the warf, and walk up state.When you get a half mile up see what it says.If you were to drill that far ,chances are your going to hit water at about that depth.Living next to the ocean with mountains so close is GREAT,but there are issues most towns don't have to ever think about that impact us all.

 

26% of comments on this page were made by Edhat Community Members.

 

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