All lanes are open on the eastbound W-X freeway through the Fix50 work site after crews finished the second phase of the big re-paving project days early.
The reopening came at 7:45 a.m., ending three weeks of rolling closures on the eastbound side of the busy downtown freeway.
Early commuters Friday, however, ran into one of the longest back-ups on the freeway since the first day of construction. Traffic backed up over the Pioneer Bridge to beyond Jefferson Boulevard, as crews scrambled to finish work.
Caltrans spokesman Dennis Keaton said the traffic was slowed because interior lanes were still closed until about 7:45 a.m. to allow the hanging of a large freeway sign. That caused a big bottleneck at that spot.
Once the sign was in place, safety cones were removed and traffic began flowing through all lanes. The two connector ramps from eastbound 50 to Highway 99 and Business 80 have also re-opened, as have the 11th and 16th street onramps.
Overnight, crews began the process of re-opening the lanes, removing concrete barriers, changing signs and re-striping the newly completed lanes into their original configuration.
Caltrans is spending more $46 million on the project to rehabilitate the aging lanes between 18th and 24th streets. While eastbound work on the Fix50 project concluded today, the westbound phase starts May 27. That will require rolling closures of lanes and ramps in the westbound direction. That work is expected to continue through late June.