Possibly the busiest section of freeway in the area, highway 99, will close for 100 continuous hours in both directions starting Friday June 11 and is not expected to reopen for traffic until Wednesday June 16. Caltrans is replacing the 21st Avenue overcrossing which was built 62 years ago. The overcrossing has corrosion, road deck deterioration, concrete spalling (flecks of material falling due to rust), cracks and the joint seals need to replaced. The cause of the failure is age, freight movement and high traffic volumes.
During the closure Caltrans will put a halt to other freeway construction around the area including the W-X repair project. Transportation officials advise against driving anywhere at all if possible and Sacramento Regional Transit will be providing free light rail service between June 12-15 for those who have secured a “Free Rider Flyer” online at sacrt.com/fixsac99. Traffic officials admit the main issue is construction lasting into both the morning and evening commute times on two consecutive weekdays.
It’s difficult to predict exactly how congested traffic may get, the length of the delays in minutes or hours and the largest factors is expected to be how many drivers missed the notifications and the level of those drivers caught in the traffic mess. The level of traffic along with driver frustration may lead to an uptick in accidents. Since there will be more drivers on I-5 the likelihood of a major crash there is increased and with 99 closed that means more cars on surface streets. CHP Spokesman Jim Young says “the local offices have seen and uptick in congestion related crashes like rear end collisions.” Another related factor is drivers may have sped more while COVID-19 kept traffic lighter and those drivers are now having to readjust.
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