Tony Bizjak

Back-seat Driver: Major downtown freeway project to launch in May

Published: Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 - 12:00 am

Downtown Sacramento commuters, get ready for a major freeway disruption starting in mid-May.

Caltrans will close several lanes on the W-X freeway in May and June as part of a major project to repair and resurface the elevated freeway through central Sacramento. The $46 million project is the biggest fix ever on the busy crosstown freeway, which is 46 years old. The road surface on the bridge section is cracking.

The contractor, (C.C.) Myers & Sons Construction, is already putting falsework up this week. Caltrans spokeswoman Deanna Shoopman said the transportation agency will lay out details of the project at a press briefing next week. The state also will launch a website to keep commuters up to date on project plans.

Thousands of commuters likely will be required to alter their route to work for at least a few weeks, much like in 2008, when Caltrans closed Interstate 5 in downtown for repairs.

The construction zone will run from 14th to 26th streets on the section of the Capital City Freeway that typically is referred to as the W-X because it runs between and parallel to W and X streets. It serves as the hub of the region’s freeway system, collecting a quarter-million drivers daily from Sacramento’s major commute freeways that funnel in from the north, south, east and west.

Unlike during the I-5 project, highway officials plan to keep traffic flowing in both directions, but with limited lanes.

They will switch eastbound traffic onto some westbound lanes for several weeks, then reverse the switch for several more weeks. That means vehicles will be going in opposite directions on the same side of the freeway, separated by temporary barriers. One direction will get two lanes, the other direction will get three during the project.

Silva Valley interchange

In El Dorado County, officials are planning their own big freeway project, a new interchange where Silva Valley Parkway hits Highway 50. The $57 million interchange will take some of the load off the nearby and sometimes crowded El Dorado Hills Boulevard/Latrobe Road interchange and will give drivers an alternative route into the back side of the Town Center, as well as the housing and industrial areas just to the south.

“Many feel it should have been built a few years ago,” County Supervisor Ron Mikulaco said.

Notably, a spokesman for the group launching a petition drive to limit county growth told The Bee he is not opposed to the Silva Valley interchange, even though it does pave the way for more growth in that area. It’s been planned since 1992, slow-growth activist and former supervisor Bill Center said, and it means some drivers “won’t have to wander through the congestion of El Dorado Hills.”

Call The Bee’s Tony Bizjak, (916) 321-1059.

Read more articles by TONY BIZJAK

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