Q: We are going to the airport on Wednesday, June 4 for a 9 a.m. flight to Hawaii. How much extra time should we allow for, and is there an alternate route we could take? We probably will be in the area of the repairs around 6 to 6:30 am. - G. Scott, Diamond Springs

A: I’ve heard someone suggest going north on Highway 49 to Auburn, then down. But that sounds like a hassle. From Diamond Springs, at that time of day, I think heading down Highway 50 and right through the Fix50 zone is your best bet. I drove through the impacted area of Highway 50 at that time a few days last week to check it out, and the delays were generally around 10 minutes at 6 a.m. and maybe as much as 15 minutes at 6:30 a.m. If you get past the Sacramento State University area before 6:30 a.m., you’ll get to the airport in plenty of time.

Q: I will be going to the airport on Thursday, May 14th. Will there be any problem from Highway 50 to Interstate 5 towards the airport? - Maria Brooks, Shingle Springs

A: You probably will be fine, because the full-time work on the westbound lanes doesn’t start until May 27. However, we should offer two small warnings. Caltrans has been conducting some temporary lane closures some nights on the westbound side of 50 downtown to get a head start on work for the full 24/7 closures on May 27. Closures have started as early as 8 p.m. Caltrans has kept a couple lanes closed until 5 a.m. Caltrans also soon will do some night lane closures for work on Interstate 5 downtown. Caltrans officials haven’t disclosed yet when they plan to start those, but they said they plan to reopen all lanes on I-5 each morning in time for the commute.

Q: I read somewhere that the carpool lane was open to even single drivers during the Fix50 Project. Is that on all freeways, or just the ones close to the project? - Bill Joens, Carmichael

A: I read that somewhere too. But, it’s not true. Caltrans says carpool lanes are functioning as normal, with no special rules. So far, commute traffic has been relatively light. Caltrans officials say the whole idea of carpool lanes is to encourage commuters to reduce congestion by doubling up.

Submit your question to The Sacramento Bee’s Fix50 answer team

Q: Why are they not going to pave eastbound 50 connecting to Business 80 and 99 which need major repair? This would be the best time and save a lot of money. Caltrans should think about it. – Debra Coffman, Elk Grove.

A: Your point is a good one about trying to get as much work done as possible during major lane closures. Caltrans local head Jody Jones checked with her road engineers and they report, however, that those connector ramps are in good condition and don’t need repaving. They also said the portion of the W-X just west of the Fix50 rehab area is in good condition.

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Q: Will the 34th Street exit be closed at any time? – Melinda Breight, Rocklin

A: No. In fact, that’s turned out to be a pretty important, and at times congested, exit the last few days. With the eastbound ramps to Highway 99 and Business 80 closed, some drivers are taking the next exit ramp down the line – 34th Street – and using it to head north or south on city streets to get to 80 or 99.

Other drivers were doing something worse Monday morning. They were taking the 59th Street exit, then making an illegal u-turn from the off-ramp directly onto the on-ramp westbound. The CHP was alerted and sent an officer out there to stop cars from making that maneuver.

Q: Is the onramp to eastbound Highway 50 past the 16th street onramp going to be closed? - Selina Sosa, Sacramento

A: You are talking about the handy little ramp that angles off of X Street just east of 27th Street, just beyond the construction zone. No, it is not closed, and won’t be throughout the Fix50 project. It turns out to be an easy way to get onto the freeway headed eastbound (toward Folsom) for a lot of people who normally use the 11th and 16th streets onramps. Both of those are closed for the next week or two. I’ve seen some block-long back-ups headed to this ramp during peak periods before, but I checked it out this morning (Friday, May 2) early in the commute and it wasn’t very crowded.

Submit your question to The Sacramento Bee’s Fix50 answer team

Read all the Fix 50 Q&A’s

Q: Hi there! With the Fix 50 project ahead of schedule, will phase one of the westbound construction start earlier than May 27 as planned? Thanks for your help and for keeping us posted on all the construction news. - Adeline Yee, El Dorado Hills

A: No, it won’t. It looks likely that the contractor will finish repaving the eastbound side of the freeway before his May 21 deadline. That means crews will then move to the westbound side, and start 24-hour closures there. But the contractor has agreed not to start the westbound closures prior to May 27. One reason is that the state does not want any lanes at all closed during the Memorial Day weekend.

That said, crews already are doing temporary night-time closures of up to two lanes on the westbound side for prep work. That work is being done most nights, between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Workers and equipment are cleared out and all lanes open for each morning commute.

Submit your question to The Sacramento Bee’s Fix50 answer team

Q: I travel to teach at a school off of Highway 99 south of 50. Will the onramp to 99 be closed, and will I be able to get to 99 from 50 during the 2nd phase of the Fix50? Judy Kuhl, Shingle Springs

A: You should be fine. The connector ramp that is now closed from Highway 50 to Highway 99 is the one on the eastbound side of Highway 50. You will be coming westbound on 50, and that ramp will stay open during this phase and all subsequent phases. Drivers heading eastbound, who want to loop over to southbound Highway 99 are being asked to stay on 50 and drive all the way out to the Howe/Power Inn exit, then loop down onto Hornet Drive, make quick left back up onto Highway 50, then join you in taking the 99 connector from that side of the freeway.

Submit your question to The Sacramento Bee’s Fix50 answer team

Read all the Fix 50 Q&A’s

Q: What is the best route to the airport from Rancho Cordova on a Sunday evening? -- Debbie Morehead, Rancho Cordova

A: Sunday evening has its own traffic issues as people head back toward the Bay Area after a weekend in the mountains. To avoid traffic backups that typically occur near the merger of Highway 50 and Interstate 80 in West Sacramento – backups that could be worse during the Fix 50 work – consider taking Highway 50 to Business 80, then take I Street through midtown and downtown Sacramento to northbound Interstate 5. Another option would be Highway 50 to Business 80 to Interstate 80, and picking up I-5 in the Natomas area.

The Highway 50 work continues 24 hours per day, seven days a week. In this first phase (April 22-May 6), some eastbound lanes will be closed on the W-X portion. The 11th St. onramp is also closed.

Submit your question for The Sacramento Bee’s Fix 50 answer team See all the Fix 50 questions and answers YOUR GUIDE TO FIX 50: sacbee.com/fix50

Q: I live in North Sacramento. If I drive down to south Sacramento and Elk Grove on Highway 99, will that be affected by the Fix 50 project? -- Wally Chan, Sacramento

A: The effect on the Capital City Freeway, or Business 80, and Highway 99 traffic will depend on the time of day. Traffic backups due to the work on Highway 50 are more likely during commute hours. Some drivers who normally would travel the affected W-X portion of Business 80 are altering their routes, adding to traffic on nearby freeways and surface streets. It’s best to allot yourself additional time, just in case.

Submit your question for The Sacramento Bee’s Fix 50 answer team See all the Fix 50 questions and answers YOUR GUIDE TO FIX 50: sacbee.com/fix50

Q: An elderly relative will be driving from Vallejo to the Davis area to Elk Grove on April 23. If she comes in on I-80 to I-5 south, will there be a gridlock that far back and should extra time be allotted? Highway 12 from Fairfield to Highway 99 is not an option for her. -- Pam Donnelly, Elk Grove

A: If she arrives anywhere near the morning commute, she should expect the worst, an extended backup on the freeway into West Sacramento. You should pay attention to what is happening the day before she comes in. April 22 is the first day of the eastbound closure. That could give you a clue to what it will be like the following day, and how much extra time to allot. Check maps and info on www.sacbee.com/fix50, and other sources, such as television news.

Submit your question for The Sacramento Bee’s Fix 50 answer team

See all the Fix 50 questions and answers

Q: I will be commuting to my office on 21st Street from my home near Watt and Fair Oaks Boulevard. Is it best to take Fair Oaks to J Street to midtown? I generally leave at 10 a.m. Thanks! - Alberta Nassi, Sacramento

A: When the westbound freeway closures start on May 27, yes, you can try Fair Oaks to J Street in the morning heading to work. Plenty of others will too though. Since you don’t leave for work until 10 a.m., you may be in a great position to monitor the morning traffic reports and see where the backups are. Perhaps, things will be smooth up on the freeway by the time you head out. You may be able to slip through on Highway 50’s two open lanes without too much delay!

During the first month of the closures, starting Tuesday, April 22, you probably can safely take your regular route to work, because only eastbound freeway lanes will be closed then.

The real question during those first weeks is: What is your best route home? If you typically use the freeway to get home, you could try winding through city streets to an on-ramp east of the closure site (the freeway closures are from about 18th to 24th streets). Or how about plotting a route through surface streets to get you to the Stockton Boulevard onramp eastbound?

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