Back-Seat Driver

Expect closures on Interstate 80 in North Sacramento this week

A view of work being done on Interstate 80 “Across The Top” project in mid 2015.
A view of work being done on Interstate 80 “Across The Top” project in mid 2015.

Interstate 80 near Watt Avenue and Longview Drive is expected to be closed nights this week as Caltrans’ finishes it long-delayed $136-million “Across the Top” Interstate 80 reconstruction project through Natomas and North Sacramento.

The freeway will be reopened each morning in time for commute traffic, Caltrans spokesman Dennis Keaton said.

The work is expected to be done by Friday, if overnight weather is dry and warm enough. Even then, Keaton said, crews still have a punch list of final items to handle, but that work is not expected to affect traffic.

Caltrans held a ribbon-cutting ceremony six months ago announcing the finish of the project. Officials, however, acknowledged they weren’t entirely done. They had to “button up” the project site and wait out the winter rains before they could do a few weeks of finish work this spring.

Numerous drivers complained during the winter that the lack of clear lane lines made it difficult to stay in line on the freeway. Caltrans officials noted that they had temporary lane markers in place that they felt were adequate.

“Rather than push the schedule with all the bad weather that was happening at the end of the year, it made more sense to come back now when the temperatures are right,” Keaton said. “That’s less inconvenience to the public.”

Keaton said permanent lane lines have been applied in recent weeks.

The project involves rebuilding and widening a 10-mile segment of Interstate 80 from the Yolo County line to Watt Avenue. That includes new carpool lanes, and “auxiliary” lanes that run between some on- and offramps. Crews also tore up and replaced four freeway lanes that had been crumbling under truck traffic.

The project was launched in 2011 and originally was scheduled to wind up in late 2014, but a variety of work slowdowns extended the timeline. Commuters complained often about the apparent lack of progress at the site. The project suffered a key setback when the main contractor, C.C. Myers Inc., went bankrupt, forcing Caltrans to turn to Myers’ partner in the project, Bay Cities Paving, to finish the work.