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State Route 154

Click here for a key to the symbols used. An explanation of acronyms may be found at the bottom of the page.

Routing Routing

FrRte 154om Route 101 near Zaca to Route 101 near Santa Barbara via San Marcos Pass.

Post 1964 Signage History Post 1964 Signage History

This routing is unchanged from its 1963 definition.

In 1964, Route 154 was realigned onto the Cold Springs Arch Bridge which significantly straightened the approach to San Marcos Pass. Previous to being realigned Route 150 and later Route 154 used Stagecoach Road to traverse Cold Springs Canyon.
(Source: Gribblenation, "California State Route 150 family of highways (CA 246, CA 154, CA 192 and CA 150)", visited on 11/9/2019)

This segment of Route 154 is often referred to as a "Blood Alley". But an interesting survey of data reported in January 2020 disputes that notion. For the 10-year period between September 2009 and September 2019, the collision rate along all 32 miles of Route 154 between Los Olivos and Santa Barbara was 0.85 collisions per million vehicle miles traveled. For that same time period, the statewide average for similar two-lane routes was 0.78. “Similar” routes are other curvy two-lane roadways that see close to the same amount of traffic, such as Route 166, which twists and turns over the Sierra Madre Mountains between Santa Maria and Bakersfield, and Route 41, the famously tricky road that brings Southern California visitors to Yosemite. Over the same 10 years, the collision rate on the Santa Barbara County stretch of US 101 between its northerly and southerly junctions with Route 154 was 0.58 collisions per million vehicle miles traveled; the state average for similar four-lane routes was 0.54. The average number of vehicles using Route 154 ranges from 11,400 a day in the Los Olivos area to 14,000 vehicles further south near Stagecoach Road. In recent years, the volume on Route 154 increased about 5 percent. During the same period, volumes on all state highways went up about 10 percent. Data shows that 52 percent of collisions were caused by Santa Barbara County residents. Of the drivers arrested for DUI north of Paradise Road, 67 percent were county residents; among DUI offenders south of Paradise, 60 percent were from Santa Barbara. Figures also reveal that collisions happen every 2.5 days on average, and that the majority are noninjury. The overall number of incidents, including fatal accidents and DUI incidents, has remained relatively steady over the last 10 years. A disproportionate number of collisions, however, happen in April, May, and December, with higher numbers taking place Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, most commonly between 3 and 6 p.m. Residents frequently assert that Route 154 DUIs have gone up since vineyards started adding more tasting rooms and the Chumash Casino Resort began serving alcohol on its gaming floor in 2015. DUI-related collision and arrest data doesn’t seem to support those claims. The overwhelming cause of collisions remains speeding and unsafe maneuvers.
(Source: Santa Barbara Independent, 1/30/2020)

Pre 1964 Signage History Pre 1964 Signage History

How old Rte 150 broke apartThis route was originally signed as part of Route 150, but in 1961 it was resigned as part of Route 154 (in fact, the Route 154 designation applied not only to current Route 154, but also to what became Route 246 to Surf). Route 150 for some details of its history as Route 150.

At some point between 1936 and 1938 a small segment of State Highway was added that aligns with present Route 154 on San Marcos Pass Road between US 101 and Route 192. It appears this segment of highway was a spur of LRN 80 (according to the 1959 definition) and can be seen appearing by comparing the Santa Barbara Area on the 1936-37 State Highway Map to the 1938 Edition. This small portion of highway is important since it appears to have ultimately been the driving force for Route 150 breaking into several highways. Beginning in 1950 construction of Bradbury Dam in Santa Barbara on the Santa Ynez River began and was completed by 1953. This required that much of Route 150 between Santa Ynez and Devaul Canyon be relocated uphill to the south of future site of Lake Cachuma. Presently this alignment is still in use as San Marcos Pass Road on Route 154.
(Source: Gribblenation, "California State Route 150 family of highways (CA 246, CA 154, CA 192 and CA 150)", visited on 11/9/2019)

On AARoads, DT Composer noted: The original San Marcos Pass Road diverged from today's Route 154 just south of the pass itself and went down today's San Marcos Road into Goleta. The 1935 Santa Barbara County map shows this as the state highway route from the pass south, then heading east on today's Cathedral Oaks Road to join up with the current Route 192. San Marcos Road between Cathedral Oaks and Hollister Avenue (US 101) is shown as county road, with no state-maintained connections between then Route 150 and US 101 until today's Route 144 corridor. The current route from the pass south into Santa Barbara was completed by 1938. He also noted that the southernmost section of today's Route 154 was constructed as a Super-2 in the 1960s, with several over/underpasses and a diamond interchange at Cathedral Oaks Road/Foothill Boulevard (Route 192). The ramps from Route 192 onto Route 154 even have the "Freeway Entrance" signs, which aren't usually used in California for such short or non-standard sections of freeway.
(Source: DTComposer on AARoads "Re: CA 150 family of highways; CA 246, CA 154, CA 192 and CA 150", 8/30/2019)

In 1961,CA 154 was first signed between Surf and US 101 in Santa Barbara. This resulted in Route 150 being truncated to Route 154 just short of San Marcos Pass in Santa Barbra. This change can be observed by comparing the 1961 State Highway Map to the 1962 Edition.
(Source: Gribblenation, "California State Route 150 family of highways (CA 246, CA 154, CA 192 and CA 150)", visited on 11/9/2019)

According to a photo supplied by Joel Windmiller, at some time between 1957 and 1964 it ran through Lompoc proper, cosigned with Route 1, along what is currently Route 246.

The portion of the route between Santa Barbara and Zaca (near Los Olivos) on US 101 [LRN 2] was LRN 80, defined in 1931. It was created as a state highway to provide relief for LRN 2 (US 101). By creating it, the state hoped that it would indefinitely postpone radical widening of the present state highway through Gaviota Canyon and along the coast, which would destroy valuable landscape and property.

The portion that became Route 246 was LRN 149, defined in 1933. This was originally signed as Route 150; in 1961, it was signed as part of Route 154. It is present-day Route 246 between Surf (10 mi W of Lompoc) and Route 154 near Santa Ynez.

Status Status

Alamo Pintado Pedestrian Bridge (05-SB-154 R2.6)

Alamo Pintado Pedestrian Bridge (05-SB-154 R2.6)The following project was included in the final adopted 2018 SHOPP in March 2018: PPNO 2391. 05-Santa Barbara-154 R2.6. Route 154 Near Los Olivos, at Alamo Pintado Pedestrian Bridge No. 51-0076Y. Remove bridge. Begin Con: 10/6/2020. Total Project Cost: $3,558K.

In June 2018, removal of the Alamo Pintado Pedestrian Bridge was delayed. The SHOPP amendment noted: Note: Delay PS&E as a result of the State Historic Preservation Office’s determination that the pedestrian bridge is historic and eligible for protection. Higher level environmental document and additional time needed to complete PA&ED.
(Source: CTC Agenda, June 2018 Agenda Item 2.1a(2) Item 38)

In December 2018, the CTC approved the following SHOPP amendment: 05-SB-154. R2.6. PPNO 2391. Project ID 0512000139. Route 154 Near Los Olivos, at Alamo Pintado Pedestrian Bridge No. 51-0076Y. Remove Replace bridge. As a result of the State Historic Preservation Office’s determination that the pedestrian bridge is historic and eligible for protection the bridge will be replaced rather than removed. This will require additional funds for PS&E, right of way capital, and construction support and capital. The replacement will also require additional time for design resulting in a postponement of construction year.
(Source: December 2018 CTC Minutes, Agenda Item 2.1a(1) Item 5)

In June 2019, the CTC approved the following SHOPP scope amendment: 05-SB-154 R2.6 PPNO 2391. ProjID 0512000139. Route 154 Near Los Olivos, at Alamo Pintado Pedestrian Bridge No. 51-0076Y. Replace bridge. Project delivery is delayed one year since the project scope was previously changed from remove bridge to replace bridge. Completion extended to FY21-22.
(Source: June 2019 CTC Minutes, Agenda Item 2.1a.(1) Scope Item 69)

The 2020 SHOPP, approved in May 2020, included the following Bridge Restoration item of interest (carried over from the 2018 SHOPP): 05-Santa Barbara-154 PM R2.6 PPNO 2391 Proj ID 0512000139 EA 1C410. Route 154 near Los Olivos, at Alamo Pintado Pedestrian Bridge No. 51-0076Y. Replace bridge. Programmed in FY21-22, with construction scheduled to start in September 2022. Total project cost is $8,335K, with $3,660K being capital (const and right of way) and $4,675K being support (engineering, environmental, etc.).
(Source: 2020 Approved SHOPP a/o May 2020)

In September 2020, it was reported that Caltrans was holding public meetings on a proposal to remove the Alamo Pintado Creek pedestrian bridge alongside Route 154 between Foxen Canyon Road and Railway Avenue in Los Olivos. The deteriorating bridge has been closed for some time due to safety concerns. Caltrans is considering alternatives for the bridge that include removing and replacing it, removing the bridge without replacing it, and leaving it as is.
(Source: Santa Maria Times, 9/9/2020)

In July 2009, the CTC approved vacation of right of way in the county of Santa Barbara along Route 154 on Railway Avenue in Los Olivos (~ SB R2.914), consisting of highway right of way no longer needed for State highway purposes.

Edison Street/Baseline Avenue Roundabout (05-SB-154 R5.8/R6.1)

The following project was included in the final adopted 2018 SHOPP in March 2018: PPNO 2674. 05-Santa Barbara-154 R5.8/R6.1. Route 154 In Santa Ynez, from 0.2 mile east to 0.1 mile west of Edison Street/Baseline Avenue. Construct a roundabout to improve operations and safety. Begin Con: 7/22/2022. Total Project Cost: $11,980K.

In January 2020, the CTC approved the following pre-construction allocation: 05-SB-154 R5.8/R6.1. ProjID 0516000060. PPNO 2674. EA 1H310. Route 154 in Santa Ynez, from 0.2 mile east to 0.1 mile west of Edison Street/Baseline Avenue. Construct a roundabout to improve operations and safety.  Allocation: PS&E $1,440,000 R/W Sup $418,000
(Source: January 2020 CTC Agenda, Agenda Item 2.5b.(2a) #15)

The 2020 SHOPP, approved in May 2020, included the following Mobility item of interest (carried over from the 2018 SHOPP): 05-Santa Barbara-154 PM R5.8/R6.1 PPNO 2674 Proj ID 0516000060 EA 1H310. Route 154 in Santa Ynez, from 0.2 mile east to 0.1 mile west of Edison Street/Baseline Avenue. Construct a roundabout to improve operations and safety. Programmed in FY21-22, with construction scheduled to start in July 2022. Total project cost is $11,980K, with $7,715K being capital (const and right of way) and $4,265K being support (engineering, environmental, etc.).
(Source: 2020 Approved SHOPP a/o May 2020)

In August 2011, an editorial indicated that Caltrans is exploring a roundabout at the intersection of Route 246 and Route 154 (~ SB R8.174). As of June 2016, that roundabout had been installed.

In February 2012, it was reported that the Alisal Bridge, which runs on Route 154 over the Santa Ynez River (Bridge 51-0079, SB R010.12, built in 1971) was determined by Caltrans after a recent inspection to be “structurally deficient,” with cracks and poor structural integrity, according to Solvang Public Works Director Matt van der Linden. The report estimated that the bridge, built in 1972, has about 10 years of viability remaining and recommended a seismic retrofit to reinforce the current structure before replacement. The concerns about the bridge led the Solvang City Council to shift its focus to replacing the Alisal Bridge and delay the improvement and widening project scheduled for the span on Route 246 near Alamo Pintado Road (Bridge 51-0130, SB 030.32, built in 1954, widened in 1972). The cost for replacing the 850-foot Alisal Bridge would be about $19.5 million, according to van der Linden, but it must have the seismic retrofit – a process that reinforces concrete and cabling – before it can receive federal funds. Van der Linden said that grant funding, if authorized by Caltrans, would be available to cover “approximately 88.5% of design and environmental processing costs, and 100% of the construction costs” of the estimated $650,000 retrofit, leaving Solvang on the hook for around $30,000.

Route 154 Sinkhole

In January 2019, storms inflicted major damage on Route 154 E of Cachuma Lake, when a portion of the roadway was washed away during heavy rain which caused downed trees and roadway flooding throughout Santa Barbara County. A spokesman with Caltrans said a blocked culvert resulted in water running along the surface and that motorists should use US 101 as a detour.
(Source: Lompoc Record, 2/4/2019)

In March 2019, it was reported that Route 154 had reopened. The highway that connects Santa Barbara to the Santa Ynez Valley has been closed since February 2 after heavy rain storms. A culvert near Cachuma Lake was clogged with debris, mud and burnt trees from the Whittier fire following those storms. That caused flooding and damaged the roadway. Caltrans and CalPortland crews had been working around the clock to clear the drainage culvert and reopen the highway. Crews were able to get a special striping material to stick and stay here faster than other projects that enabled the damaged section of Route 154 to open sooner than scheduled.
(Source: KEYT News, 3/1/2019)

In June 2016, it was reported that residents along Route 154 were increasingly concerned about the number of near misses on the highway. Near-misses and fatal crashes have spurred Santa Ynez Valley residents to lobbying for the changes to make the road safer. Increased traffic along Route 154 is blamed on a number of factors, including tourism, the Chumash Casino, wine tasting, and local commuters. But the road safety advocates also contend online mapping systems calling Route 154 a shorter route between northern and southern Santa Barbara County add to the traffic —and dangers. Websites label the highway as a scenic back road and a shorter distance than taking US 101. It was noted that there’s one big factor the state transportation engineers can’t fix — motorists who drive while intoxicated, distracted, sleepy or otherwise impaired.
(Source: Noozhawk, 6/16/2016)

Cold Springs Suicide Barrier (~ SB 022.96)

[Cold Springs]There are some initiatives to make changes to the 1,200 ft long Cold Springs Arch Bridge, which was constructed between June 1962 and 1964, and seismically retrofitted in 1998. The bridge opened in 1964. There have been numerous jumpers from the bridge, which is a 220-foot fall into a wooded ravine, always lethal. As of February 2008, there had been 44 suicides, including a 60-year-old doctor that left his car running and jumped over the thigh-high railing. In the Summer of 2007, Caltrans came up with a $1-million plan to install 6-foot-high safety barriers on top of the existing 30-inch-high concrete railing. The project has the backing of the Sheriff's Department, the California Highway Patrol and mental health experts. But some bridge supporters decry the barriers, saying they will spoil the view from the bridge, and that they won't work. In May 2008, the CTC looked at the announcment of the preparation of an EIR, which proposed 3 alternatives: (1) No Build; (2) Construct continuous metal barrier with inward sloping vertical steel rod pickets. (3) Construct continuous metal barrier with inward sloping grid/mesh steel wire pickets. In June 2008, the Draft EIR was on the CTC agenda. It noted the project is fully programmed in the 2008 State Highway and Operation Protection Program (SHOPP) for $3,183,000, capital and support. Construction is estimated to begin in Fiscal Year 2009-10. According to USA Today, at least 49 people have leaped to their death from the Cold Spring bridge as of October 2009, five in 2009 alone. In October 2009, a 59-year-old woman used two canes and a foot stool to get over the bridge. However, not all favor the bridge. A group calling itself Friends of the Bridge filed suit in July 2009 to stop the barrier, which "threatens to deface the most beautiful long-span steel arch bridge in America," Marc McGinnes, a retired environment professor at the University of California-Santa Barbara and head of the group, said in an e-mail. Rather than prevent suicides, he said, a barrier would "merely divert occasional suicides from the bridge to other places in the community."
(Source: Los Angeles Times, USA Today; Image source: AARoads)

In January 2012, construction resumed on the grid-mesh barrier being installed on both sides of the Cold Spring Arch Bridge. Construction had been stalled by court challenges, but a judge ruled in summer 2011 in favor of Caltrans resuming the $778,000 project. As of January 2012, the bridge had been the site of 55 suicides, according to Caltrans.

In September 2012, it was reported that the newly installed suicide barrier was... ineffective. Just six months after completion, a 30-year old man allegedly foiled the multi-million dollar cage and jumped to his death. That suicide marks the 55th time a person has jumped to his/her death since the bridge opened in in 1964 (hmmm, if the article was correct, it would have been the 56th time)

The SAFETEA-LU act, enacted in August 2005 as the reauthorization of TEA-21, provided the following expenditures on or near this route:

Naming Naming

This has historically been named the "San Marcos Pass Road" from Los Olivos to Route 101 near Santa Barbara.

Historically, this route has also been named "El Camino Cielo" (The Road to the Sky).

Chumash HighwayDesignated in its entirety as the "Chumash Highway". This segment was named in honor of the Chumas Indian tribe. In prehistoric times, the Chumash territory encompassed some 7,000 square miles, and today, this same region in southern central California takes in five counties, including Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles, and Kern. While some place names in this geographic region reflect their Chumash language origins, the trails and routes that connected them remain unrecognized as the forerunners of today's highways. Route 154 follows an elaborate Chumash trail network, which linked several hundred early Chumash villages and towns, seasonal encampments, rock art sites, shrines, gathering places, and water sources, and these trails were vital to sustaining cultural longevity for over 8,000 years in this region as they formed the foundation for economic and social exchange among the Chumash. In historic times, routes through the Chumash territory were first recorded in the diaries of the Gaspar de Portola Expedition in 1769, in which it is noted that in many instances Chumash Indians led members of the expedition from one village to another, showing them the trails. Many notable works subsequently validate the location of the Chumash trail system, including along present-day Route 154. Numerous archaeological sites along Route 154 further support the historical significance of the area and the trails to the Chumash. Named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 75, Resolution Chapter 149, on October 2, 2007.
(Image source: Flikr, Santa Ynez Chumash Pow-wow FB Page)

Laura Jean CleavesThe intersection of Route 154 and Rout 246 in Santa Barbara County (~ SB R8.174) is named the "Senior Investigator Laura Jean Cleaves Memorial Junction". It was named in memory of Laura Jean Cleaves, born on April 19, 1955, in Long Beach, California. In 1976, Ms. Cleaves joined the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, where she met her future husband, Deputy Stephen M. Cleaves, and they were married in 1978 and moved to northern California two years later, where she distinguished herself as the first female police officer for the City of Arcata. Relocating to Santa Barbara County in 1981, Ms. Cleaves accepted a position with the Santa Barbara Police Department and, in 1984, became an investigator with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office where she excelled as a criminal investigator and was later promoted to senior investigator. She continually demonstrated honesty, integrity, professionalism, and leadership in all her varied assignments. An avid and accomplished horsewoman, Ms. Cleaves wrote articles on horse care, safety, and riding and provided riding instruction for those with a love of horses and, in 1988, she began sharing her expertise as a reserve deputy sheriff and instructor for the Sheriff's Mounted Unit. Ms. Cleaves had a passion for protecting others, and while on duty April 30, 2008, her vehicle was struck by a drunken driver and she suffered a fatal injury. Named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 147, Resolution Chapter 161, on 9/19/2008.
(Image source: Officer Down Memorial Page)

CHP Officer James C O`Connor Memorial InterchangeThe interchange of Route 154 and US 101, in the County of Santa Barbara (~ SB R32.205) is named the "CHP Officer James C. O’Connor Memorial Interchange". It was named in memory of Officer James Christopher O’Connor, who was born on July 9, 1956. On December 23, 1982, Officer James Christopher O’Connor, graduated from the California Highway Patrol Academy and was assigned to the West Valley area. He completed motorcycle training on February 28, 1985, and was transferred to the Ventura area, where he spent the remainder of his career. Officer O’Connor was killed in the line of duty on November 15, 1990, at approximately 1524 hours. He and three fellow motor officers were traveling home from a divisionwide motorcycle training day in Santa Maria. A 1986 Ford Thunderbird, driven by a 78-year-old driver, failed to turn her vehicle at a curve and crossed over the center line into the group of officers. Officer O’Connor was struck head-on and thrown approximately 60 feet. During the impact, he was knocked out of his helmet and boots. Officer O’Connor’s fellow officers called for help and immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). He was transported to a nearby hospital, but succumbed to his injuries. Officer O’Connor was a good man and a good officer. He was known for his skill in riding motorcycles and his ability to get into accidents when driving an automobile. One day, while on patrol, Officer O’Connor managed to crash his patrol car into the center divider at approximately 75 mph while trying to split traffic. It was named in recognition of Officer James Christopher O’Connor’s contributions and sacrifice in serving the Department of the California Highway Patrol and the citizens of California.Named by Assembly Concurrent Resolution 100, Resolution Chapter 109, on September 4, 2012.
(Image sources: Frank B. Baiamonte Blog, California Assn of Highway Patrolmen)

Freeway Freeway

[SHC 253.1] Entire route. Added to the Freeway and Expressway system in 1959.

Note: A section of freeway exists in Santa Barbara for about 2 miles.

Scenic Route Scenic Route

[SHC 263.1] Entire route.

Classified Landcaped Freeway Classified Landcaped Freeway

The following segments are designated as Classified Landscaped Freeway:

County Route Starting PM Ending PM
Santa Barbara 154 R31.48 R32.20

Interregional Route Interregional Route

[SHC 164.17] Entire route.

Other WWW Links Other WWW Links

Statistics Statistics

Overall statistics for Route 154:

Pre-1964 Legislative Route Pre-1964 Legislative Route

In 1933, Chapter 767 defined the routes from "[LRN 2] near El Rio to Montalvo-San Fernando Road near Saticoy" and from "The Montalvo-San Fernando Road near Saticoy to [LRN 79]" as part of the state highway system. In 1935, LRN 154 was added to the highway code with the following routing:

  1. [LRN 2] near El Rio to [LRN 9] near Saticoy
  2. [LRN 9] near Saticoy to [LRN 79]

In 1951, Chapter 1562 added the segment from LRN 60 to LRN 2 as a new segment (a): "(a) The junction of [LRN 60] and Saviers Road in Ventura County, along the route of said road to [LRN 2] near El Rio."

In 1957, Chapter 1911 removed the portion of the routing north of [LRN 9] (Route 118), simplified the origin, and eliminated the discontinity: "[LRN 60] near El Rio to [LRN 9] near Saticoy."

This route (Route 1 to Route 118) is present-day Route 232.

Acronyms and Explanations:

Back Arrow Route 153 Forward Arrow Route 155

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