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Delays Reported As Westbound Work Begins For Fix 50 Project


9:30 a.m. Traffic was slow Tuesday morning due to lane closures on westbound highway 50 in Sacramento. Speeds heading westbound were down to 20 miles an hour between 65th Street and the Downtown Interchange. The Fix 50 project is expected to wrap up June 25.

The three westbound inside lanes are closed between 18th and 24th and that caused major backups -- at one point all the way to Watt Avenue.

At about 9 a.m., traffic was fairly slow between downtown and Watt. The connector ramp from Highway 99 North to 50 west was also down to one lane.

Traffic was heavy with commuters were coming in from Rancho Cordova, Carmichael, Folsom, El Dorado Hills and other communities. CalTrans said the biggest issue is the configuration of the roadways around the construction zone -- where 99 north, Business 80 and 50 meet.

8:05 a.m.: Traffic slowed to a crawl along some areas of Highway 50 in Sacramento, as work was underway Tuesday morning on the westbound phase of the "Fix 50" project.  Capital Public Radio's Marianne Russ joins us live with details.

Steve Milne: Marianne, we're into that peak commuter time - what's the traffic situation?

Marianne Russ: It's really slow out there. We have reports that traffic is very slow from downtown all the way to Watt Avenue - so people driving in from the Rancho Cordova or Carmichael areas are looking at a long drive if they don't try an alternate route. Now this is all because the three westbound inside lanes are closed between 18th and 24th streets - so it's down to two lanes in that area.  The connector ramp from Highway 99 North to US-50 West is also down to one lane.

7:30 a.m.: Sacramento commuters are looking at slow travel times on Highway 50 through downtown Tuesday morning as the westbound phase of the Fix 50 project gets underway.

The three inside westbound lanes are closed between 18th and 24th streets while crews begin work repairing and resurfacing the roadway.  The work is also slowing traffic in the area where 50, 99 north and Cap City Freeway westbound lanes merge.

7 a.m. Some delays are being reported on westbound U.S. Highway 50 due to the Fix 50 project. 

CapRadio's Marianne Russ joins us live with the details:

Steve Milne: How is traffic being affected by this new phase?

Marianne Russ: Traffic is already very slow in and around the construction zone, which is between 18th and 24th streets. Crews are now working on the Westbound lanes, and the three inside lanes are closed in that area. CalTrans has said that this phase is expected to generate more congestion than the eastbound work did.

Dennis Keaton of Caltrans says that has to do with the way the highways converge:

"When you  have the traffic coming in, with the actual ramps on top of the construction project, what you have is traffic from westbound Business 80, northbound Highway 99, westbound 50 trying to merge into two lanes versus the five lanes that they normally have."

Milne: What are crews going to be doing on the westbound side?

Russ:  It's basically the same work they did on the eastbound side - repairing and resurfacing the roadway, along with some seismic retrofitting as well. CalTrans says so far things are on schedule.  It expects demolition of the barrier wall to start later today. The agency is asking people to again take light rail, ride their bikes or take alternate routes to avoid the construction zone.  Given how slow traffic is moving through the area, it seems like people weren't quite ready -- but Dennis Keaton of CalTrans reminded me this morning that the first day of the Eastbound phase was a little rougher, too, and then people adapted. 

Fix 50 alternate Routes:

During work in the WESTBOUND direction (May 27 – June 25):

Traveling from Rancho Cordova/Folsom to Downtown Sacramento:
     Use US-50 West to Business-80 North to “N” or “H” Street off-ramps
     Do not stay on US-50 West after Business-80 interchange

Traveling from Elk Grove/Galt to Downtown Sacramento:
     Use I-5 North to “J” Street off ramp
     Do not take Freeway-99 North to US-50 Westbound

Traveling from Rancho Cordova/Folsom to Natomas/Davis:
     Use US-50 West to Business-80 North to Watt Ave North, to I-80 West.
     Do not use US-50 West to Davis or US-50 West to I-5 North to Natomas.

If traveling on Business 80 West during Phase 2 (Closed connector ramp from Business-80 West to US-50 West):
     Get on US 50-E and use Hornet Drive (Howe/Power Inn exit) to turn around onto US-50 West
     For WB Business 80 to downtown, use Highway 160
          –Hornet Drive closed to Folsom Blvd Traffic
          –No access to Folsom Blvd from College Town Drive. For access to College Town Drive (CSUS) from Folsom
            Boulevard, please use State University Drive.
Click Here for map of this detour

*Motorists traveling to the Lake Tahoe area can avoid the project area congestion by taking I-80 E

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