Sacramento County hopes a new interchange near the international airport will spur economic development worth billions of dollars — but there will be road closures during the major construction, which begins this week.
Tractors are moving earth along Metro Air Parkway, a 1,600-acre development adjacent to the airport and a major Amazon warehouse and distribution center. Workers are laying the foundation for highway ramps and a bridge over Interstate 5. Sacramento County hopes the $18 million project will spur development in the area where land has been either unused, or set aside for grazing cattle, for decades.
"We know that large facilities will raise property values significantly,” said Troy Givans, the county’s economic development director.
The interchange is part of a Metro Air Park plan that calls for 22 million square feet of development.
Bob Linn’s family has owned some of the land for 71 years. He is in favor of the project — and stands to profit from it.
"It's on the market. It's been on the market. It's gonna stay on the market. We don't have the money to develop it. We don't have that kind of clout," Linn said.
The county believes that, once completed, the park will employ 32,000 people and provide $3.3 billion in wages.
But more development and people means more traffic. Caltrans estimates 86,000 people currently travel this stretch of the interstate, which is especially congested during rush hour.
The county is hoping the project will result in an additional 76,000 people moving into the area.
The environmental impact report on the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission website shows six freeway offramps and 14 intersections will operate by 2025.
However, the county says that once the area is 40 percent developed, there would be a requirement under the Metro Air Park capital improvement plan for a second I-5 project, which would add more lanes between it and Highway 99.
Freeway closures are scheduled to take place during nights. Northbound I-5 is scheduled to be closed twice, and southbound once.
Sacramento County is paying for the project, and Caltrans is providing oversight.