Three-year I-5 reconstruction project begins in Sacramento. Expect closures, commute delays

South Sacramento commuters, get ready to adjust your morning work-drive start time.

Caltrans will announce next week the start of a massive, several-year-long reconstruction project on Interstate 5 through south Sacramento – one that both the state and some local commuters say is overdue.

The $370 million project, which includes replacing the road surface, will take three years and involve extensive lane closures at times, prompting traffic congestion and detours, officials said. Project finish date is set for late 2022.

The project will include the addition of carpool, or high-occupancy vehicle lanes in both directions south of downtown. State officials say they want to add the lanes now to prepare for several thousand planned housing units in the coming years in the Delta Shores area of Sacramento and south of there.

The project area will run from one mile south of Elk Grove Boulevard to the bridge over the American River, just north of downtown.

The 40-plus-year-old freeway has become a problematic pathway the past few years for commuters. A portion wore down several years ago, and several major crashes occurred from vehicles skidding on the pavement in the rain. Dozens of concrete slabs have cracked in the last two years, damaging cars and requiring Caltrans to do a series of emergency patches. And, last winter, a large sinkhole formed on a portion of the freeway shoulder, causing lane closures.

Caltrans officials will hold a project-commencement ceremony on Tuesday. Most lane closures are not expected to happen, though, until next spring, officials said. Caltrans will announce the timing, location and type of closures before they are put into place.

“There will be some nighttime work for electrical and drainage” in the coming months, spokesman Dennis Keaton said in a recent email. “Major traffic interfering work during the daytime with the heavy equipment, won’t really happen until spring of next year.”

The project will be funded through Caltrans regular state highway fund budget, as well as from the state SB1 gas tax increase and the local Sacramento County Measure A transportation sales tax.

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