Plan extra travel time on I-80 |

Plan extra travel time on I-80

SACRAMENTO — Caltrans is alerting motorists that upcoming long-term roadwork on eastbound Interstate 80 between the Sacramento River and Watt Avenue could add 10-15 minutes travel time during peak commute hours for a year.

“Investing in I-80 benefits all Californians because it is a critical link between California and other states that helps power the state’s economic engine,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “In Sacramento, I-80 serves commuters, parents taking children to school and businesses that rely on it to get goods and merchandise to their customers.”

Beginning Saturday morning, July 19, a 4-mile stretch of eastbound I-80 will be narrowed from three lanes to two lanes from the Sacramento/Yolo County line to approximately West El Camino Avenue.

At that point, eastbound traffic will be shifted onto the three newly-constructed interior lanes for about nine miles all the way to Watt Avenue. Between West El Camino Avenue and Northgate Boulevard, the two left interior lanes will be shifted into the newly constructed median lanes by two crossover gaps in the concrete barrier. Motorists in the left lanes will have no access to freeway exit ramps. Further eastward between Northgate and Watt Avenue, there will be no gaps in the barrier, and motorists in the two left lanes will not be able to exit eastbound I-80 until Watt Ave.

Motorists in the right lane will have full access to ramps throughout the entire project.

The traffic shift will enable Caltrans to repave 10 miles of eastbound I-80 between the Sacramento/Yolo County to Watt Avenue, a stretch of freeway that takes a pounding from more than 130,000 vehicles on average every day.

“To get the most bang for the buck for taxpayers, Caltrans targets dollars where they are most effective – pavement preservation,” said Dougherty. “Every $1 spent on preventive pavement maintenance saves Californians $11 that would have been spent on expensive pavement repairs.”

The speed limit will be reduced from 65 to 55 mph in the work zone and traffic fines will be doubled. The new configuration will last approximately one year, and then the same type of work will begin in the westbound direction.

The upcoming repairs are part of the Interstate 80 “Across the Top” project that began two years ago. Caltrans is adding 10 miles of new bus/carpool lanes in both directions along the freeway and a mile of new auxiliary lanes. After the project is completed in late 2015 or early 2016, motorists will be able to take advantage of approximately 24 miles of continuous bus/carpool lanes connecting Sacramento County to Placer County. Caltrans estimates the project will eliminate more than four million hours of delays and improve air quality.

The $133 million “Across the Top” project received nearly $54 million in funding from Proposition 1B, a transportation bond approved by voters in 2006. To date, more than $17 billion in Proposition 1B funds have been put to work statewide for transportation purposes.

However, the one-time funds from Proposition 1B and the federal Recovery Act will soon be gone. California must replace those funds with a reliable transportation revenue source. In 2011-12, transportation allocations crested at $7 billion; this year they have fallen to $3 billion and are likely to stay at that level unless action is taken. The state has a funding shortfall of more than $12 billion a year to repair and maintain existing roads.

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