Caltrans warns drivers to start planning ahead of major Highway 99 closure

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Drivers who regularly travel on Highway 99 will face major delays starting next weekend.

Caltrans is giving drivers a big heads up as they prepare for the longest closure of Highway 99 in Sacramento history.

“This is the first time for us that we are going to have both sides closed at the same time,” said Caltrans District 3 Director Amarjeet Benipal at a press conference held Thursday.

Starting at 8 p.m. next Friday, June 11, Highway 99 will be closed in both directions for four days straight. It will reopen 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 16.

Commuters who normally drive between 47th Avenue and the Highway 50 interchange will have to make other travel plans.

“We highly recommend people not to be just planning on using I-5 because they will have significant company along with them,” Benipal said. “So our suggestion would be use the techniques that we’ve been using during pandemic, which is telework, telemedicine, try to plan your trips before the closure is going to take place, such as buying the groceries. But if you are going to end up traveling, please use Regional Transit’s light rail because they are providing a free service.”

For around 100 hours, construction crews will work around the clock using new technology to rapidly replace the bridge over 21st Avenue, a process that would otherwise take up to six months without completely shutting down the highway. The current bridge is 62 years old and deteriorating.

“We wanted to make sure we fix it before it gets to an emergency stage,” Benipal explained. “Bridges are safe to travel as we speak today, but in a couple of weeks, we are going to get a new one to service for 75 more years in the future.”

Caltrans officials said commuters could see delays up to two-and-a-half hours, but if everyone heeds their warnings and makes alternate plans, those delays could be reduced to about one hour.

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