Thousands of Sacramento International Airport users will take a 6-mile detour to get to their flights or pick up passengers at the airport Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights this week.
State Department of Transportation crews will reduce northbound Interstate 5 leading to the airport to one lane at 7 p.m. and close the Airport Boulevard offramp at 9 p.m. each of those nights as part of a freeway-widening project.
The ramps will reopen at 4 a.m. each of the following mornings for daytime use. Airport officials are telling fliers and people who are picking up passengers to leave home a half-hour earlier than normal those nights. The airport has 60 flight departures and arrivals each night after 7 p.m.
Caltrans is proposing a detour that instructs drivers coming from Sacramento to continue past the airport and to use the next exit to the north, which is in an agricultural area in Yolo County on the other side of the Sacramento River. It’s exit 531. Drivers would then loop several hundred yards and get back on the freeway headed back toward the airport. They can then use the Airport Boulevard exit.
The $1.1 million project will lengthen the northbound exit ramp lane about 1,800 feet to add capacity to the freeway and reduce traffic backups. Work will last a month. Officials say drivers should expect some slowdowns during construction.
Light rail to Raley Field?
Streetcar proponents working on plans for a future trolley line in West Sacramento and downtown Sacramento are talking about a possible wrinkle – allowing light-rail trains to run on the portion of the streetcar tracks that would cross the Tower Bridge between the downtown Sacramento train depot and Raley Field.
Sacramento Regional Transit chief Mike Wiley said bigger and longer light-rail trains might be a good way to get large numbers of people to and from bigger events, such as concerts, at Raley Field, especially when development in West Sacramento’s Bridge District replaces many of Raley Field’s existing surface parking lots.
Transportation sales tax
Sacramento County voters likely will be asked in November to consider a half-cent sales tax increase to pay for countywide road and transit improvements. The question is, how much of the money should go for road repairs and expansions, and how much to transit, such as light rail, buses and rides for the elderly?
One suggestion was for a 75/25 percent split in favor of roads. Transit officials requested a 67/33 percent split, again in favor of roads. County Supervisors Sue Peters and Phil Serna are on a committee with Folsom Councilwoman Kerri Howell, Sacramento Councilmen Steve Hansen and Jay Schenirer, and a few others who will hash it out in the next two weeks.
Those officials are on the larger Sacramento Transportation Authority board, which likely will decide April 28 whether to put the issue on the ballot and what percentage of the money would go where.
Pothole patrol alert
April showers bring May flowers. And El Niño rains create pothole pains.
It’s annual pothole sweeps time in Sacramento County. Officials are asking people to call or email and report potholes for repair at 311 or 916-875-4311 or www.311.saccounty.net. (You can, by the way, report potholes any time of the year at those numbers.)