First part of Fix50 project is finished

05/15/2014 10:04 AM

05/15/2014 7:12 PM

Fix50 has hit the halfway point, offering downtown drivers nearly two weeks of fully open freeway before the second round of lane closures sets in.

After three weeks of work, crews were expected to complete repaving the eastbound lanes of Highway 50 downtown Thursday evening, six days early, and have all lanes open by 7 a.m. Friday morning, state Department of Transportation officials said.

Friday’s reopening will unveil five newly paved freeway lanes between 18th and 24th streets, along with new shoulders, safety barriers and signs. Also reopening Friday morning are the two connector ramps from eastbound 50 to Highway 99 and Business 80.

State highway officials said they were pleased that the initial eastbound closures, which began on April 22, caused fewer traffic headaches than expected on the freeway and nearby surface streets.

“Caltrans would like to thank our partners for their added outreach, staff, and services that helped to increase public awareness and alleviate traffic issues,” said local Caltrans head Jody Jones. “We also thank drivers who changed their regular workday commute, or chose alternate modes of transportation.

“Those motorists who chose to bike commute, use light rail, bus, train, walk, carpool, and avoided unnecessary trips helped lessen the overall traffic impacts in the region.”

The second half of the project work is scheduled to begin May 27 and could last through late June. That work will involve rolling closures of lanes on the westbound side of the freeway, including closures of several key ramps.

In what’s become a busy summer of freeway fixes and lane closures in Sacramento, state highway officials announced they will launch another major freeway project on Monday, this one on the elevated section of Interstate 5 that runs between K Street and Richards Boulevard.

It will be followed in midsummer by road surface rehabilitation work on the Pioneer Memorial Bridge, the span that carries Highway 50 over the Sacramento River between West Sacramento and Sacramento.

Both projects will require lane closures, but those closures will be limited to nights and weekends, officials said, to avoid commute disruption.

Another freeway widening and repair project is underway as well on Interstate 80 in Natomas. That project, the largest and most expensive in the region, is spread out over several years, and will require lane closures next year.

The two upcoming projects on I-5 and the Pioneer Bridge involve $26 million in resurfacing work. Officials said the work is not as extensive as Fix50, and is not expected to be as intrusive. Although closures are expected, officials said all lanes are planned to be reopened by 5 a.m. on weekdays.

In total, Caltrans is spending more than $200 million on the four downtown freeway projects.

Caltrans local director Jones said the projects reflect a state push to repair aging freeways, some of which are nearly 50 years old, funded mainly by state bonds.

“Sacramento is typical of what is going on across the state,” Jones said. “If you drive the state of California the last three years, you are going to find construction everywhere you go.

“We’ve had a good (project construction) bidding environment, so we had a lot of cost savings, reinvested in additional work, most of it pavement and bridge rehabilitation.”

Related information:

•  Fix50 Questions & Answers
•  Your guide to Fix50: Get text alerts and help for your commute
•  Back-seat Driver: Turning freeways into ‘feeways’; Are toll roads ahead?

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