With the roar traffic from the newly opened Fix50 in the background, state, city and construction officials thanked each other Thursday for the completion of the big paving project on Highway 50.
“That awful noise behind me is the sound of success,” said Jerry Way, Sacramento Public Works Department chief.
After nearly two months of work, all lanes were open shortly after 5 a.m. Thursday on the elevated portion of the highway that runs between W and X street from 18th to 24th streets. Although traffic backups occurred every day as lanes were restricted for the paving work, the project did not cause a severe case of gridlock because travelers found ways to get around the construction.
Still, Malcolm Dougherty, Caltrans director, noted at a Southside Park press conference that the 230,000 travelers who use the highway corridor every day, are surely happy with the completion of the job.
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“The strategy to do these improvements in less than two months, in lieu of doing it in two or three construction seasons, certainly had some complications and challenges to it but it was well worth it in the end to have less impact on traffic,” said Dougherty.
The project fixed extensive wear and cracking caused by age and pounding by cars and big rigs. Contractor Myers & Sons finished the job six days early.
“We always thrive on doing these kind of jobs and getting them done fast for the benefit of the public,” said C.C. Myers.
Crews sealed cracks and installed a new, four-inch concrete deck on top of the existing highway deck, tying it all to the girders. Caltrans hopes that the work lasts 20 years.
Additional work completed by crews included widening of shoulders, new joint seals, new concrete barriers and railings and energy-efficient lighting.
Work that includes seismic retrofitting of columns will continue through the year but not interfere with traffic. Final completion is expected in December.