Six-Mile Slowdown Leads to Confusion Along I-80

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SACRAMENTO -- Along a 6-mile stretch of Interstate 80 between Douglas Boulevard in Roseville and Madison Avenue in Sacramento, 55 mph signs were posted in both directions.

A spokesman with the California Highway Patrol explained to FOX40 the California Vehicle Code gives Caltrans the authority to change the speed limit in construction zones.

In the case of I-80, the work is happening at night. Caltrans is working on curbs, gutters, K-rails and pavement on that stretch of the interstate. The work is listed as a short-term project and runs from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Thursday.

But Caltrans confirmed the temporary speed limit change is in effect 24/7, even when workers are not present.

And that's where some commuters take issue with it.

"I don't think it's practical because we have people who are going to work and we're used to a 65, 75 mph trip to work. And the 55 just slows everything down on top of the traffic," said one commuter.

The reduced speed limit in work zones was rolled out by Caltrans in April statewide to improve the safety of workers.

"You do know when you walk out here something could happen. There's been many close calls where you think to yourself, ‘If I would've just been there five minutes ago, I may not be here right now,’" said Jeff Johnson, a Caltrans engineer. "Just slowing down 10 mph gives somebody that extra one second to, basically, be able to make a better decision."

Drivers FOX40 spoke with Wednesday understood the need for lower speed when workers are present or when there's equipment out, reduced shoulders or altered lanes of travel.

FOX40 did see much of that Wednesday afternoon along the 55-mph zone. Still, most said they understand what Caltrans is doing.

"They want people to get used to the slower speed limit now before it becomes an issue," one driver said.

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