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  • Randy Pench /

    Construction workers build forms for the new concrete median walls on the eastbound W-X freeway. Work is scheduled to wrap up on the three interior eastbound lanes on Tuesday.

  • Randy Pench /

    Freshly poured concrete is covered by tarps to keep it from drying too fast in the warm weather while a construction worker guides a form into place for the new median walls on the W-X freeway on Tuesday in Sacramento.

  • Randy Pench /

    New light standards are wired by a construction worker under the W-X freeway on Tuesday. The next stage of work includes replacing freeway signs, which will require stationing cranes beside the roadway.

Fix50 pushes forward; traffic remains light

Published: Tuesday, Apr. 29, 2014 - 10:44 pm
Last Modified: Tuesday, Apr. 29, 2014 - 11:53 pm

Fix50 crews spent Tuesday handling the effects of a sudden warm spell by setting up a watering system on the elevated freeway to keep this week’s newly poured concrete road surface from cracking as it cures.

The 24-hour project on Highway 50 downtown remains on schedule, Caltrans officials said, despite unexpected weather swings, including a heavy weekend rainstorm.

Crews spent Tuesday finishing pouring a new 4-inch concrete road surface on the three interior lanes of the elevated freeway between 18th and 24th streets downtown. Reacting to temperatures in the mid-80s, crews rigged a PVC-pipe watering system on the deck to keep the concrete wet and allow it to cure uniformly.

“It’s a 72-hour process, so we are looking at Thursday night or Friday” for the new road surface to be ready for next steps, Caltrans spokesman Dennis Keaton said.

Upcoming steps this weekend include honing the concrete slabs so that the running surface is level and even, then scraping the surface to give it grip for vehicle tires.

“It has to pass the skid test,” Keaton said.

Caltrans officials warned drivers of wet pavement from the runoff Tuesday in the two lanes currently open to traffic.

To lay the new slabs, crews pumped concrete onto the elevated highway from trucks stationed on the ground under the freeway. The next stage of work includes replacing the old freeway signs with new ones. That task will require stationing cranes beside the freeway.

Keaton said that although the project is on schedule, it is too early to tell if the agency will be able to speed up the expected date for the next series of closures. The current schedule calls for work to finish on the three interior eastbound lanes on Tuesday. Those would then be reopened for use, while the two exterior lanes are closed, as well as the connector ramps to southbound Highway 99 and eastbound Business 80.

Caltrans officials, meanwhile, report traffic volumes remain light on eastbound Highway 50 downtown. The agency continues to encourage drivers to avoid the area during commute hours.

“You are still having it pinched during the peak commute times, but we are not seeing any major problems before or after the peak,” Keaton said.

Meanwhile, Sacramento city crews are planning temporary restriping on some area streets to handle an expected increased in traffic during some of the upcoming closure stages of the Fix50 project.

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

Read more articles by Tony Bizjak

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