David Ortiz could only shake his head, walk away from the fuel pump and consider himself lucky that he works in Dixon, not Sacramento or points east.
He was gassing up at Harbor-50 Business Center on West Sacramento's Harbor Boulevard just before 8 a.m. when a reporter asked about Fix50. He finished fueling his vehicle, then offered some advice to Caltrans.
"I'd tell them to use their heads. Do it at night. It's fine at night, but not in the day. Jeepers!" Ortiz said. "Be realistic about it. When you've got to go to work, that's ridiculous."
Above the gas station, traffic crawled along as the morning commute melded into the delays down the road on U.S. Highway 50 on this first day of the Fix50 highway construction project.
Traffic on Interstate 80 heading to U.S. 50 was at a near standstill and backed up beyond Harbor Boulevard, the freeway a line of cars, trucks, and tractor-trailers heading into Sacramento as a television helicopter circled overhead.
Darrell Alder of Sacramento wasn't too worried Tuesday morning. After all, he was headed to his job at UC Berkeley far away from the grind on Highway 50. Rather, his thoughts were with his daughters who live in Sacramento's Pocket area and work and study at Sacramento State University.
"I'm not concerned about myself, but my daughters," Alder said. "The oldest one is stressed out. She said, 'Daddy, this is going to be crazy.' So I calmed their fears and gave them alternate routes, so they won't have to deal with it too much."
Work will be ongoing 24 hours, seven days a week between April 22 and June 25 - except for a respite during the Memorial Day weekend.
Caltrans officials say they expect weekend delays, but haven't estimated how extensive those delays will be. Only one side of the freeway at a time will experience closures.
The eastbound lanes are slated for the first set of closures, April 22 through May 21.