SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Work began Monday on one of the most extensive freeway upgrades in the Sacramento area in years.
The section of Highway 50 through Sacramento crosses both Interstate 5 and Business 80, and includes the elevated W-X Freeway.
The goal of the Highway 50 Enhancement Project is to ease congestion by widening the heavily used freeway and repave it .
“It’s going to be a project that’s going to include an HOV lane for Interstate 5 all the way to Watt Avenue,” said Caltrans public information officer Angela DaPrato. “Fifty-one lane miles of repairing pavement with reinforced concrete.”
A key part of the Fix 50 project is a major undertaking to fill in the gap between the east and westbound lanes of the elevated W-X Freeway section with a new bridge structure.
Homeless encampments underneath the freeway were being moved Monday.
Sound walls are now being installed further east, just west of 59th Street and overpasses will be raised to allow for taller truck traffic to pass safely.
Drivers can expect some disruption to traffic.
“Closures are going to be at night time. In November there may be a full highway closure,” DaPrato told FOX40.
Most of the heavy construction will take place overnight to ease traffic. But there are signs that the traffic diversions already in place are adding to the congestion.
On westbound Highway 50, traffic lanes have been shifted away from the fast lane by using no-pass lane stripping. The slow lane west of 65th Street has been blocked off for sound barrier work, with traffic and lanes shifted to the left.
The number of lanes in both cases is the same, but the lanes are narrower and the construction zone has a 55 mph speed limit.
“So be work zone alert,” DaPrato explained. “There’s a lot of people working in the construction zone. Even if there is no lane closure, they may be working on the side.”
Whether the slowdowns will be persistent or whether drivers get accustomed to the lane shifts and construction zones is uncertain, but they will have three years to figure it out.
The project will cost around $460 million and is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025.