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101 Freeway reopening delayed until at least Monday. Amtrak adds extra trains to accommodate more travelers

101 Freeway reopening delayed until at least Monday. Amtrak adds extra trains to accommodate more travelers
Caltrans work crews continue cleaning mud from the 101 Freeway in Montecito. (Michael Owen Baker / For The Times)

The 101 Freeway in the Santa Barbara area won't open until at least Jan. 22, Caltrans tweeted Monday. The agency cited continuing cleanup plus storms predicted this week for the ongoing closure between Carpinteria and Santa Barbara.

Until the road reopens, the quickest way to travel to and from the affected area is by train. Detours using Interstate 5 can take up to five hours, depending on traffic.

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Amtrak is adding 2,000 more seats daily to its popular Pacific Surfliner train service to Santa Barbara to accommodate an uptick in passengers since the 101 Freeway closed.

Rail travel was suspended last Tuesday and Wednesday but reopened Thursday.

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Amtrak said in a Sunday news release that the Pacific Surfliner, which operates between San Diego and San Luis Obispo with stops in the freeway closure area, has been extremely busy. Eight extra rail cars and three locomotives have been added.

Trains stop in Oxnard, Ventura, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta. For example, you can travel between Ventura and Santa Barbara in 45 minutes. Info: Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner, (800) 872-7245

Back to the detours. The 101 Freeway closure means adding almost three times as many miles to the usual 87-mile trip between downtown L.A. and Santa Barbara.

Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol recommend an L.A.-Santa Barbara detour of 253 miles, traveling north on Interstate 5, west on Highway 166 through the Santa Maria Mountains, and south on the 101 Freeway from Santa Maria.

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You can expect the journey to take anywhere from four hours and 10 minutes to five hours, according to Google Maps.

A second recommended detour of 327 miles travels from Interstate 5, west on Highway 46 until you reach Paso Robles and then south on the 101 Freeway. It takes at least four hours and 50 minutes.

If you do visit Ventura or Santa Barbara, here's an update of what's open and what's closed since the devastating Thomas fire and subsequent mudslides.

Rescuers continue to search for missing people, and Caltrans crews continue to work to clear the freeway. The death toll from the storm-related slides has risen to 20 people.

UPDATES:

2:05 p.m. Jan. 15: This article was updated with information about the postponement of the reopening of the 101 Freeway.

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This article was originally published at 6 a.m. Jan. 15.

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