By the time construction started on phase two of the Hazel Avenue improvement project, work had already been going on for several years, starting in 2009 with preliminary engineering and right-of-way acquisition.

The project, which involves widening a two-mile stretch of Hazel Avenue between U.S. 50 and Madison Avenue from four to six lanes, is broken into three phases, each of which require engineering, right of way acquisition, design and environmental impact review.

“It takes a long time,” said Daniel Regan, spokesman for the Sacramento County Department of Transportation. He added, “We also have to keep 40,000 cars a day moving through the construction site.”

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted to approve the project in September 2006 with the purpose of reducing traffic congestion, improving safety and making the street more user friendly for pedestrians and cyclists by adding bike lanes, sidewalks and landscaping and modifying intersections, according to information posted on the county website.

The first phase, from U.S. 50 to Curragh Downs Drive (just north of the bridge over the American River) began in April 2009 and was completed in 2011 at a cost of $22 million.

However, the second phase has gone more slowly. The slow-down appears to have been the right of way acquisition, which took from 2009 to 2015 to complete, according to information posted on the county website.

Construction began on phase two last year, with the first stages of work underground, involving water and sewer lines beneath the roadway. Phase two goes from Curragh Downs Drive to Sunset Avenue and is expected to be completed by December, Regan said. The phase two budget is $20 million, and is funded by a combination of District 3 developer fees, Measure A sales tax funds, State Transportation Improvement program funds and federal funding sources.

Work on phase three, the stretch from Sunset Avenue to Madison Avenue, is slated to begin in spring 2019 and reach completion sometime in 2020.