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Why is part of I-5 in Sacramento called the boat section? | Why Guy

In 2008, a small but troubled patch of road near J Street was completely shut down and rehabbed with new pavement and badly needed drainage systems.

SACRAMENTO, California — There is a section of I-5 in downtown Sacramento near J Street that has long been called the boat section.

What boat? It’s not a harbor. Because of severe flooding during the rainy season, Caltrans shut down the ¾ of a mile section of I-5 in both directions for 35 days in 2008.

The roadway got new pavement and a badly needed drainage upgrade. Traffic forecasters predicted a “Carmageddon” of traffic backups with everything on I-5 re-routed.

It actually went smoothly with all the planned diversions. Workers were on it 24/7.

"They called it the boat section because in the old days, that area used to flood and the only way to pass through it was in a boat," Dennis Keaton, a spokesperson for Caltrans, said.

The boat section was constructed decades ago below the water line of the Sacramento River which was problematic during heavy winter rains, or when and if the river was high.

So, next time you’re on I-5 driving through downtown Sacramento and the highway dips, you’re in the boat section.

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