SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A traffic blackout is underway on part of a major Sacramento highway.
Late Friday, Caltrans began initiating a full closure of Highway 99 between 47th Avenue and the Highway 50 connector for bridge repair, which will be in place until next Wednesday. The bridge at the center of the closure is right off of 21st Street. Caltrans said it’s decades old with some cracks that are concerning.
Drivers are preparing for delays.
“It feels like it’s 24 hours a day! I’m like ‘They finished construction. Oh wait, they’re back at it again,’ ” said Nathan Kline, a driver.
Julie Coleman is concerned because she relies on public transportation that is already unpredictable.
“Oh no, they can’t do that to me! Because I ride public transit and I never know which way I’m going to go,” she said.
Angela DaPrato, a spokesperson for Caltrans, said doing it fast and furious with a complete shutdown is what gets the fewest complaints.
“A lot of residents don’t like the extended closures, they just want us in and out,” DaPrato said.
DaPrato said Caltrans is using a method called accelerated bridge construction. That means crews have already done most of the work elsewhere and they’re bringing in the finished pieces.
“So really all they’re doing is assembling,” DaPrato said. “This is a 62-year-old bridge that’s going to get a facelift by taking out the old bridge deck and putting in a new bridge deck to extend the lifespan of the bridge.”
DaPrato said wear and tear caused by time and big trucks are clearly visible on the bridge. This complete closure will be one of the longest and biggest in this area.
“We have low traffic volumes due to COVID so this is a great opportunity before the big reopening of California,” she said.
Some drivers already have their game plan.
The full closure was expected to begin at 8 p.m., but as of 10 p.m. Friday, traffic was still flowing in both directions. Caltrans said all ramps and interchanges in the area were closed, but traffic that was already traveling on 99 will be allowed to pass through until all equipment needed for the job is delivered.
Caltrans said a hard closure of the highway will likely start at around midnight. This complete closure will mean lots of slow traffic on Interstate 5, so even people who don’t use Highway 99 should be prepared to experience the effects.