(KTXL) — Transportation officials are trying to help alleviate congestion along Highway 50 in the foothills near Placerville.
The procedure is to simply keep traffic lights green for longer periods of time at certain times over several weekends. This as an experiment for transportation officials to see what works best.
Around 50,000 cars travel on Highway 50 through Placerville nearly every weekend. On holiday weekends, that number is even higher.
Judy O’Neill and her family use this roadway a couple of times a year and noticed a difference right away.
“Yeah, oh yeah… I like it,” O’Neill said.
The traffic lights on Highway 50 stayed green for nearly 12 hours each day. It’s part of the Trip to Green program which also had the north and south traffic detoured to an overcrossing.
“The Trip to Green project was implemented during the Caldor Fire evacuations,” said Rebecca Neves, a city engineer with Placerville.
Local and state transportation officials are wondering if this slight change will show beneficial results.
Neves explained that officials are trying this because traffic backups are becoming an issue to the point where some drivers try to avoid it by going through downtown.
“It’s very difficult for locals to maneuver,” she said.
Jann Williams has lived in Placerville since 1999; she is in favor of this program.
“It’s worth a try because it really gets crowded here on the weekends, especially during Apple Hill time and Christmas,” said Williams.
While nothing is official, finding the right balance is something everyone can agree on.
“I like the ease, but I do not want to destroy the business because it makes it a little bit easier,” said O’Neill. “The goal is to learn, collect data, see how everybody feels about it. If it works, great! If we need to make adjustments do that. If it doesn’t work and people are not comfortable with it, we try something else.”
This is one of three weekends that all the traffic lights in the area remain green. The next two weekends will be Labor Day weekend and the first weekend in October.