The area's biggest freeway construction project is shifting into a new phase this weekend. Beginning Saturday night about 11 p.m. the Interstate-80 Across The Top project moves over to the west-bound side between Longview Drive and West El Camino Avenue.
"Getting used to a new configuration could be an adjustment to drivers, but that is why we are doing as much outreach as we can," said Caltrans spokesperson Leo Morales. "Highway 80 is such a traveled area. I think if they've been traveling east-bound recently they should be aware of the crossover configurations we've had here.
A similar type of situation will occur which will now impact the tens-of-thousands of downtown commuters each morning heading up west-bound I-80 from the likes of Granite Bay, Roseville, Lincoln and Antelope. Caltrans will again be shifting two lanes of traffic over to the east-bound side, but with a slightly different twist.
"Every vehicle has a dedicated lane so there shouldn't be as much confusion," explained Morales. "There really is no merging this time. Everyone will be traveling and have their own dedicated lane."
Part of the reason for the adjustment is safety. The Sacramento Bee reported that during a 4 month stretch of construction on this same part of freeway where lanes where changed around, that more than an accident a day occurred. Which is nearly 3 times as many as normal.
"I would say it is probably less confusing," said Morales. "I think when you give someone the ability to make a decision, that could lead to a situation for them. But this definitely is less confusing to drivers..to give them the initial option, and it will take them a while to get used to it."
This will be the last time the Across The Top project has to change lanes over to the other side, and the entire $133 million dollar project is hoping to be finished by the Summer of 2016.