Transportation

I-5 surface grinding in south Sacramento complete ahead of schedule

Video: Why are big rigs crashing on Interstate 5?

Caltrans is doing skid tests on part of Interstate 5 south of downtown Sacramento to see if tires can grip the pavement in wet weather. Big rigs recently crashed in three separate accidents on this stretch of road.
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Caltrans is doing skid tests on part of Interstate 5 south of downtown Sacramento to see if tires can grip the pavement in wet weather. Big rigs recently crashed in three separate accidents on this stretch of road.

Caltrans finished grinding the road surface of Interstate 5 in south Sacramento a day early Monday – and ahead of the rain.

Prompted by several recent truck crashes, state highway officials started grinding the road surface on a section of I-5 Sunday night to give it more traction in wet weather.

State Department of Transportation officials sent crews out Sunday night to rough up the freeway surface in both directions near the Seamas Avenue/Fruitridge Road interchange.

The surface has become smoother over the past five years due to wear and tear.

While the grinding work at the site was expected to continue through Tuesday morning, crews were able to complete the grinding in one night and finished Monday morning around 6 a.m.

That section of roadway, a few miles south of downtown, has a slightly curved embankment. A southbound big rig crashed there in the rain on Dec. 10, hitting a truck in the northbound lanes and killing the driver of that truck. The rig ended up on top of the freeway center median. The crash forced the closure of the northbound side of the freeway for hours, causing massive backups.

Two more big-rig crashes occurred there on Dec. 21 in wet conditions, resulting in one minor injury. One of the rigs ended up straddling the center median.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crashes.

After the big-rig wrecks, Caltrans crews conducted friction tests on the freeway at that site and determined the road surface did not have enough grip.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews

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