Commute route reopens but for how long is still uncertain

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Photo by Andrew MacCalla
The shoreline diminishes as the ferry brings commuters to Ventura Jan. 16.
Andra Belknap, Ojai Valley News reporter
Local commuters breathed a sigh of relief Jan. 21 as the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announced U.S. 101 through Santa Barbara County had reopened following the massive clean-up effort that resulted from the Jan. 9 Montecito mudslide.
Ojai Valley residents who commute to work in Santa Barbara were forced to find alternative methods of transit during the prolonged closure.
Andrew MacCalla, of Direct Relief, a Goleta-based medical-relief nonprofit organization, commuted to work via Island Packers ferry Jan. 16 and Jan. 17, he said. 
For him the experience was not unpleasant, but time-consuming — the ride took three hours each way.
MacCalla noted that the freeway closure happened to coincide with some of the biggest swells of the year resulting in a rather bumpy ride. He observed many of his fellow passengers becoming seasick, he said.
Caroline Van Houten, a Macy’s employee in Santa Barbara and wife of Ojai Valley News reporter Perry Van Houten, commuted to work the evening of Jan. 10 by a Condor Express boat.

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