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Fix 50 Recap: Crews Working On Phase 2 Of Project


Three lanes of eastbound U.S. 50 through Sacramento have been re-opened as part of the FIX 50 project. But, access to and from the freeway has been restricted. The changes to the construction project affected traffic in different parts of the city.

Traffic through the Fix 50 site was dramatically improved today as a two-lane bottleneck from the previous stage was replaced with three lanes all the way through the project.

But, X Street and the offramp to 34th Street both had longer delays than usual. Sara Varghese (var gess) was driving to Reno and was caught off guard by the closure of the southbound 99 and eastbound Cap City Freeway connectors.

"Oy, oh my god, I'm frustrated," says Varghese.

Regina Fincher, took X Street to work.

"Oh Gosh it's awful," says Fincher. "You know what, it usually takes me maybe about 30 minutes to get to Rancho, but this is incredible."

Drivers should plan for increased traffic on all roadways south of U.S. 50 Saturday evening. Twenty thousand soccer fans make their way to the Republic FC game at Sacramento City College.

Dennis Keaton with Caltrans says traffic was backed up on Highway 99 last weekend.

"Now those fans won't have the actual southbound exit to use off of eastbound 50."

Even though construction is a week ahead of schedule, Caltrans says the dates for work on the westbound sections of the freeway will stay the same.

8 A.M. Phase 2 of the massive $46 million Fix 50 construction project in downtown Sacramento started this morning ahead of schedule with new closures and detours in effect. The 11th and 16th street onramps and the eastbound Highway 50 connectors to southbound 99 and eastbound Business 80 are closed,

CapRadio’s Bob Moffit has been keeping an eye on traffic all morning long. He’s at 18th and X streets.

Steve Milne: How does traffic look right now?

Bob Moffitt: It’s moving OK on the freeway. It’s better than last week. No stop and go to speak of, just slow. Then on X Street it is stop and go because at 18th and X, there’s a stop light and they keep turning it on so people have to stop. I talked to one lady and she said it’s probably going to take her 15 extra minutes from the west side of Sacramento to Rancho Cordova. All in all, so far, what we’ve seen is a pretty good commute all things considered.

Milne: The people you’ve been talking to, they know the changes today?

Moffitt: They knew about the changes today for the most part. Although one lady was trying to get from the Bay Area to Reno and she had no idea what she was getting into. So I gave her directions off 34th Street to get to the freeway. But most people what was going on. They knew what they’re going to have to deal with today. And they’re happy that  it’s taking place a week than  had been expected.

7 A.M. CapRadio's Bob Moffitt is monitoring traffic at U.S Highway 50 at I-5 

Steve Milne: Bob, remind us what the closures are and how's traffic now?

Bob Moffitt: Well, the onramps are closed to eastbound 50 from Sacramento and also the connectors to southbound 99 and eastbound Cap City freeway are also closed. What happened is, overnight, the righthand lanes were closed off and the lefthand lanes were opened, which means you have a straight shot of three lanes all the way through and the traffic really has improved dramatically this morning compared to what we've seen in the last week. Typically traffic is backed up to Jefferson to at least I-5, slow and go all the way. It is now moving 35 to 45 mph through the construction zone. A real marked improvement. People are also taking other surface streets and other routes to where they need to go. And it doesn't hurt that it's bike month. 

Milne: So drivers should be prepared to take detours? 

Moffitt: Absolutely. I-5 seeing a little bit of action today. A lot of people are just going through the construction zone and then taking 34th Street, which then you have to make a right, a left and a right and a left and right to get back to 99 or 50. But people are just figuring out different ways going over the top of town, going through town. It seems everyone is just spread out ...this morning is probably the best traffic that I've seen since the Fix 50 started.

Milne: This phase 2 is starting earlier than scheduled so Caltrans rushed to get the word out ....

Moffitt: They did get the word. A lot of the signs still hadn't changed yesterday. But they got it up ahead of schedule...people really, even if they weren't prepared just not having that bottleneck at 16th Street where it turned to two lanes, that's helped immeasurably.

6 A.M. If your commute this morning includes Highway 50 in the Downtown Sacramento area, there are some new eastbound closures starting Friday that you'll want to be aware.

It's part of the massive Fix 50 construction project. CapRadio's Bob Moffitt is monitoring the project and the traffic associated with it. He will give live reports from 34th Street and Highway 50.

There will be new closures during the second phase, including the 11th and 16th street on-ramps and the eastbound U.S. Highway 50 connectors to southbound Highway 99 and eastbound Business 80. Detours are in place

The second phase of eastbound work is expected to take about 15 days.

Dennis Keaton with Cal-Trans says commuters should be prepared for backups, even though there haven't been lots of massive traffic jams related to the project so far.

"It seems like everything wasn't as bad, by all accounts except for maybe one or two days, the way we've been telling people and the public may have that false sense of security and we just don't want that to kind of take over," says Keaton.


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