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Solvang businesses feel the effects of 101 freeway closure




SOLVANG, CA - MARCH 15:  The Danish architecture along Alisal Road is viewed at sunrise on March 15, 2017, in Solvang, California. Because of its close proximity to Southern California and Los Angeles population centers and Mediterranean climate, the coastal regions of Santa Barbara have become a popular weekend getaway destination for millions of tourists each year. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
SOLVANG, CA - MARCH 15: The Danish architecture along Alisal Road is viewed at sunrise on March 15, 2017, in Solvang, California. Because of its close proximity to Southern California and Los Angeles population centers and Mediterranean climate, the coastal regions of Santa Barbara have become a popular weekend getaway destination for millions of tourists each year. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
George Rose/Getty Images

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The coastal community of Montecito continues to recover this morning, a little over a week after mudslides swept through the city. More than 100 structures were destroyed in the deluge. At least 20 people have died.

Muddy debris continues to clog the 101 freeway between Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. Officials say the stretch will remain closed until next week — and that means tough times for people who depend on the highway, like businesses in Solvang, about 40 miles down the road. 
 
Tracy Beard is executive director of the Solvang Chamber of Commerce. She tells Take Two that even getting basic supplies is a challenge.

Truckers are going around, up Interstate 5 from Los Angeles and across the 166 and the 46 and coming back around through Santa Maria to bring goods and services to our community. 

They've made that decision, but it costs them more. It takes six hours for a truck driver to come around and to have to work an eight-hour, ten-hour shift on their driving time. It costs more, and they don't get as far through the day. 

What's Solvang like usually this time of year?

Solvang is a beautiful Danish community. At this time, we have just finished our yule fest. 

Normally at this time, we are a little quiet, but it has been extremely quiet to us. Our hotels are filled at 30 percent capacity, which normally they are at 60 percent capacity and 100 percent on the weekends. Our hoteliers are feeling the pinch right now, which means our restaurants are feeling the pinch also. 

During Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, a lot of our wineries have closed now through that week.

What are you hearing from business owners? What are their biggest concerns right now? 

I think the biggest concern with business owners is, once the 101 is open, making sure there is no fear factor of people coming up — that they will want to come up right away.