Final leg of Fix50 project to start Friday

The first westbound phase of the Fix50 project is being completed five days early, putting the entire project on track to be finished ahead of schedule, Caltrans officials said Wednesday.

The $40 million project’s first westbound phase, which began May 27 to repave the inside lanes of Highway 50 between 24th and 18th streets, will be completed today.

While the second leg of the westbound closures is expected to take 15 days to complete, the state Transportation Department anticipates the early start will allow the entire project to wrap up ahead of the June 25 completion date. But traffic delays could worsen during this phase, “because of the additional ramp and connector closures,” said Jody Jones, Caltrans District 3 director.

“Major congestion is expected throughout the region, including on other area highways and surface streets,” said Jones.

The project will shift at 9 p.m. today to the westbound outside lanes, a transition that will be completed by 10 a.m. Friday when the second westbound phase is to start. This will be the final leg of the effort that began April 22 to rehab Highway 50 downtown.

The westbound closures already have been harder on commuters than those that occurred on the eastbound stretch, since they affect many more commuters from the eastern suburbs. Closures during the first phase of westbound construction caused traffic on Highway 50 to back up as far as Watt Avenue during the peak of the morning commute. Some commuters reported half-hour delays. Traffic also backed up on Highway 99 for more than a mile, as far south as Florin Road, bringing the right lanes of the freeway to a halt.

During the second westbound phase, the 16th Street offramp will close and motorists are urged to use the 26th street off ramp instead. The westbound Highway 50 connector from westbound Business 80 will also close. There will also be reduced lanes on the connector ramp from Highway 99 north to Highway 50 west. Caltrans suggests that motorists on Business 80 who want to head west on Highway 50 through the project area take a detour to eastbound Highway 50.

Motorists should then take the Howe-Power Inn exit, staying in the right- hand lane to use the Sacramento State loop exit, which is before Howe-Power Inn roads. The loop takes motorists to Hornet Drive, where drivers can turn left onto westbound Highway 50 and proceed through the Fix50 project.

Work on the eastbound phases of the project meant to upgrade the W-X stretch of Highway 50 over downtown Sacramento also was completed early by Myers & Sons Construction, the firm doing the work.

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