Tony Bizjak

Back-seat Driver: Those Arco Arena signs will be changed

Published: Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 - 8:24 pm

The Sacramento Kings have changed the name of their arena twice in the last year and a half, from Arco, to Power Balance Pavilion, to Sleep Train Arena.

But you wouldn't know it by the signs on the freeway, reader Michael Farmer reports. They still say "Arco Arena."

The state Department of Transportation says the (now bankrupt) Power Balance company tried to get Caltrans to pay for new signs last year. Caltrans said no way. "We don't intend to use taxpayer monies for signs that are supposed to be replaced by the sponsor of the arena," Caltrans' Dennis Keaton said.

Kings spokesman Chris Clark said that's fine with the team. The signs will be changed in a couple of months, he said, as part of the team's deal with Sleep Train.

Caltrans did, however, fix another recent sign problem on Interstate 5. The agency took down the "Semas Avenue" sign and replaced it with the correctly spelled "Seamas Avenue." Apparently the person ordering new signs mistyped. (What's a Seamas, you ask? Our street reference Bible, "Sacramento Street Whys," tells us Seamas is named after a Portuguese dairy family in the Pocket.)

Not far from Seamas Avenue, reader Kathy Walsh noticed a row of freeway lights have been out for months on I-5 at the Highway 50 junction downtown. She asks: Does Caltrans care?

Sort of. Lights in that area apparently got vandalized in the recent rash of copper wire thefts. A Caltrans spokesman said it plans to fix them. The cash-strapped agency just doesn't have a timetable yet.

It's not like Caltrans isn't busy. They've been working for a couple months now at night on the Capital City Freeway in midtown, setting up cones, bending lanes and chewing up concrete.

The work has unsettled some drivers who say they are not sure, day to day, which lane is which.

Caltrans contends their signage provides adequate warnings. The resurfacing project will finish by the end of December, they say, if the weather and air temperatures are mild. If not, it will finish in spring.

Things are more problematic for Caltrans out on Highway 50, though, where road fixes have been going on seemingly forever.

Reader Galen Smith saw our article about the Watt Avenue interchange redo project being launched this week and said, wait, how come Caltrans is doing that when it hasn't finished resurfacing Highway 50 westbound between Hazel and Watt?

"I assume that the state ran out of money," he said.

It turns out Smith is right. Caltrans officials finished resurfacing the eastbound lanes but couldn't come up with the last bit of money in this year's budget to finish the westbound side.

They are hoping – with fingers crossed – that more funds will be freed up next spring to finish the project.

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