A highly contentious meeting about the Highway 101 widening project from Santa Barbara to Carpinteria took place in Santa Maria, but a remote location helped many speakers get their point to the decision makers.
"What we need is relief from the gridlock now," said Ann Louise Bardach, a Carpinteria resident. "We don't have the time for further delays."
She was among a group of speakers talking to a special remote camera set up in the Board of Supervisors hearing room in Santa Barbara to the Association of Governments meeting in Santa Maria.
Montecito resident Susan Petrovich said noise levels have changed from the time the project was first proposed until now and more work needs to be done to tone down the impacts. "I've had to install wooden shutters on my windows because the noise was interfering with my sleep, both preventing me from going to sleep and waking me up at three in the morning. The traffic is more consistent and heavier over all hours of the day and night," she said.
"We also need relief from paid political consultants seeking to subvert this crucially needed public works project with delays, stalls and threatened lawsuits," said Bardach.
The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments voted in favor of moving the project forward, and soon designs will be prepared.