Caltrans has embarked on a local road construction program that seems to be contributing to an already volatile set of conditions on our local roadways. These improvements are happening just as people are returning to their pre-pandemic activity and driving levels and at a time when many of their skills may have diminished due to lack of daily use and practice.
The California Highway Patrol is urging drivers to slow down and be aware of what’s referred to as the “Cone Zone.” More than a few areas of our local freeways are undergoing major construction and one of the more treacherous stretches is the freeway named the “W-X” in downtown Sacramento. The “W-X” is the location where a historic and very visible demolition project was recently launched. This construction has required crews to reduce the width of the lanes in the construction zone by a full 12 inches. The state has imposed a speed limit of 55 MPH through central Sacramento and marked off several sections of the roadway with solid white lines and added signs instructing drivers to stay in their lanes through these areas.
The need for increased awareness is clear after two fatalities on Highway 50 in the last month and 3 fatalities on Highway 99 in the last three weeks. CalTrans spokeswoman Angela DePrato is asking drivers area wide to slow down and work on updating their urban driving skills and to give other drivers and workers some extra space and show a little extra courtesy. “Motorists are definitely going to see a big increase in activity,” she said. “We don’t want lookie-loos. It is going to be challenging for folks because of curiosity.”
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