SACRAMENTO - No matter what, work on the W-X viaduct just south of downtown Sacramento will cause significant traffic delays, but now project leaders are looking for alternatives to lighten the burden.
The elevated freeway is two separate structures. One carries eastbound traffic. The other carries westbound traffic. Both need repairs, but how to divide up the work over the course of May and June could make a huge difference to commuters.
The current plan for the first three weeks in May would close the eastbound lanes between 16th and 24th streets. Eastbound traffic would cross over and use a couple of westbound lanes. Then in June, the process would be reversed while crews repair the westbound lanes. But traffic concerns about that crossover have prompted project leaders to reconsider alternatives.
"The way it could potentially work is that the traffic on one side of the freeway would not be affected at all, and it would only affect traffic on the other side, and then we would flip-flop 50 and only affect traffic going the other direction," said Clinton Myers, vice-president of Myers & Sons, the company repairing the viaduct.
Whether eastbound or westbound would be shut down first remains up for debate. If, for example, eastbound lanes were shut down, eastbound traffic could be diverted to surface streets while westbound traffic remained unimpeded.
"I think it would make a difference to commuters to know that yes, one way is safe, and one way they still need to definitely stay away from. So at least you have a good feeling that OK, my drive to work may be different, but at least my drive home will be a normal commute," Myers said.
Project leaders expect a decision to come early next week when they meet with Cal Trans. But one way or the other, they urge everyone to do their best to avoid the project area during construction this summer.