Transportation

Crews ‘right on schedule’ during first full day of I-80 closures

This was the scene in August 2014 during an earlier phase of the Across the Top project in the Natomas area of Sacramento. Crews shut two westbound lanes this weekend to replace 1,300 of westbound I-80.
This was the scene in August 2014 during an earlier phase of the Across the Top project in the Natomas area of Sacramento. Crews shut two westbound lanes this weekend to replace 1,300 of westbound I-80. rbenton@sacbee.com

Nightmare traffic jams failed to materialize Saturday after construction crews closed two westbound lanes of Interstate 80 in northern Sacramento as part of a massive project to replace the roadway.

Work began Friday at 6 p.m. and, as of Saturday afternoon, crews had hauled away 300 truckloads of aging roadway, with about 100 truckloads to go. The refurbished 1,300-foot stretch roadway is scheduled to open in time for Monday’s commute, according to Caltrans.

“Things are going well. We’re right on schedule,” Deanna Shoopman, a Caltrans spokeswoman, said Saturday. “We do appreciate people using alternate routes.”

Congestion was heavier on Interstate 5, which crosses I-80 near the stretch under construction. Crews closed ramps to westbound I-80 and I-5. Drivers on westbound I-80 from Placer, headed toward the Bay Area, are asked to reroute to Business 80, the Capital City Freeway.

Traffic in the area likely will worsen Sunday, which always has heavier traffic loads as people return from weekends in Lake Tahoe and Reno. Officials have warned that motorists can expect delays of up to 45 minutes in the area.

The weekend lane closures are the latest phase of the $133 million Across the Top project, now in its fifty year.

The project involves hauling away and replacing 10 miles of freeway between the Sacramento River and Watt Avenue, along with building new carpool lanes in each direction. Work is scheduled to finish in mid-November.

Motorists can get more information at Caltrans’ project website at: 80acrossthetop.com.

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