Traffic was slowing again Thursday morning due to the big Fix50 reconstruction project with Caltrans hoping that motorists continue to look for ways to get to work other than westbound Highway 50 between W and X streets.
“There’s a little bit of slowdown, but nothing major,” said Caltrans spokesman Dennis Keaton at 6:45 a.m. “It is to be expected. We have never backed off the fact that the westbound side was going to be the ugliest side.”
The Bee traffic map showed that commuters were slowed to 51st Street on Highway 50 and the northbound Highway 99 transition ramp into the project was at a crawl.
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Even on Tuesday, when the morning commute was at its worst, the long back-up was not unexpected, Keaton said. He said Caltrans has tried to get the word out, but, in the end, it depends on what the commuter decides to do on any particular day.
On Wednesday morning, commuters changed their driving behaviors significantly, lessening the flow into the project. Many rode light rail.
Strangely enough, however, the evening commute was worse than the morning. Perhaps, people heard how the morning commute was a bit smoother and decided to test the afternoon drive through Fix50, Keaton said.
“And maybe there is a generalized thinking that since it went so well with the eastbound side, then the same will happen with the west,” said Keaton. “But that’s not the case at all because the westbound side is a totally different configuration.”
Highway ramps are “right on top of the construction project,” Keaton said.
There is little opportunity to bail out onto surface streets and get downtown as was the case with the eastbound closures.
“After Stockton Boulevard, you are stuck in it,” Keaton said. “And one of the problem areas we still see is the northbound 99 connector to the westbound Highway 50 ramp. If you are in Elk Grove or South Sacramento, the best bet is to take I-5.”
Meanwhile, work continues on the project, including removing of approach and departure slabs of concrete, pouring of cement and other work.