Drivers could face traffic headaches during Sacramento I-80 closure

Caltrans says it will finish its Interstate 80 “Across the Top” project in north Sacramento by December.
Caltrans says it will finish its Interstate 80 “Across the Top” project in north Sacramento by December. Sacramento Bee file

Highway construction crews plan to close all but one lane on westbound Interstate 80 through north Sacramento this weekend, and officials warn of the potential for hourlong delays for drivers who fail to avoid that freeway stretch.

The state Department of Transportation officials say they will close much of that side of the freeway for a 10-mile stretch to allow crews to paint new striping on the freeway, roughly between Watt Avenue and the Yolo County line. The closures would be postponed, however, if heavy rains fall.

The closures will, in particular, affect traffic to Sacramento International Airport from the east, including north Sacramento County and Placer County.

The work is part of a $133 million freeway overhaul and widening underway since 2011. Caltrans says it will finish the project in December.

The latest closures will take place from 10 p.m. Friday through noon on Sunday. On Friday and part of Saturday, only one westbound lane will be open. Later Saturday and on Sunday, two or three lanes will be open at times. All westbound on- and offramps, however, will be closed on that stretch through midday Sunday.

After that weekend work is done, Caltrans says, it will reopen three lanes on that side of the freeway and eliminate the temporary “express lane” that has been in place during construction for much of this year.

Caltrans is asking drivers to avoid the westbound lanes this weekend. Instead, drivers should use Business 80, also known as the Capital City Freeway, or other routes.

Drivers headed to the airport who usually take I-80 through north Sacramento can use Business 80, and loop around downtown. They also can exit westbound I-80 at northbound Elkhorn Boulevard, then take southbound Highway 99 to northbound I-5.

Caltrans suggests drivers from the Yuba City-Marysville region headed to the Bay Area use northbound I-5 to Highway 113 to westbound I-80 in Davis.

See how the traffic for Golden 1 Center’s first big event unfolded at high speed. This video of the downtown Sacramento street grid and adjacent freeways shows traffic flows Tuesday evening over the course of three hours from the prime 5 p.m. comm

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak