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Caltrans cautions drivers about Highway 49 work

Commuters cautioned construction on SR-49


Motorists are advised to use extra precaution along Highway 49 as a repaving project began last weekend and continues to dawn Saturday.

Paving is taking place between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. along a 4.2-mile stretch on Highway 49, from the Interstate 80 separation to Dry Creek Road, which includes significant traffic destined for or originating from Grass Valley.

“That’s really a heavy commute corridor,” said Raquel Borrayo, Caltrans public information officer. “Typically, prior traffic counts reached 23,000 per day at Wolf/Combie roads and 25,400 at La Barr Meadows Road, Nevada County, which is pretty significant.”

The count climbs to 36,000 cars a day at Highway 49 and Palm Avenue in Auburn, and 70,000 a day at I-80 and Highway 49, she added.

“Traffic is too heavy in the day, so that’s why we designated work at night only,” said Borrayo. “But we’re also doing traffic signal work that will upgrade the system to withstand 100 mph winds.”

Added to traffic signal sensors will be a camera system hook up that evaluates traffic levels in real time. Currently the traffic signal loop along the construction zone is in default mode that shows a green light for when no car appears for a left turn.

Once work ends at dawn Saturday, it will start up again the following evening, at 7 p.m. Sunday, and wrap up the following Saturday at dawn.

Construction is part of a $42.4 million project to rehabilitate existing pavement, operational features and drainage, as well as improve pedestrian and bicycle facilities within the designated 4.2-mile stretch of roadway. Completion of the signal work is expected to be sometime this summer, though the exact date is unknown. Motorists should anticipate alternating lane closures in the north and southbound lanes. At least one lane in each direction will remain open during the work periods.

“Slow down for the cone zones,” cautioned Borrayo. “The general rule is decrease your speed by 10 miles an hour, so if it’s 65 reduce speed to 55 mph. Pay attention, weather or unexpected events might delay work. But if you want to avoid construction, we don’t have any official detour routes.”

William Roller is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at wroller@theunion.com


Caltrans repaving and traffic signal upgrades on Hwy 49

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