SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Saturday marked the first full day of closures and construction on Highway 99 from 47th Avenue to the Highway 50 connector. People nearby and those passing through were already feeling the impacts.
Commute times doubled, and one person shared with CBS13 that it took them nearly an hour to go a mile on Interstate 5. Though, many are thankful this mess lasts days and not years.READ MORE: Sudden Death Of 10-Year-Old Boy Who Had COVID-19 Leaves Elk Grove Family With Questions
The crowded side streets were bustling with traffic as the 99 sat empty.
“There’s only one way in to my house and it took me half an hour to go two miles,” said Daren Papas, who lives nearby.
People in nearby neighborhoods were unable to escape the sounds of construction overnight.
Loud bangs and clangs could be heard by neighbors throughout the early morning hours, and clouds of dust coated nearby cars.
Ahead of any commute, neighbors like Ramon Hungerford packed their patience for this several-day stretch.
“I’m used to it, we sit in traffic anyways,” Hungerford said.READ MORE: Folsom Fire Department Ask The City To Declare Local Emergency
The traffic troubles are due to full closures in place. Demolition work to replace the bridge deck on 21st Avenue is underway. Saturday was spent drilling into and removing old girders and making room for new ones. Caltrans calls the project “proactive.”
“We decided let’s do it now before it becomes an emergency operation,” said Angela DaPrato, a spokesperson for the transportation agency.
Some people who live nearby decided to skip town, but others stayed put.
“We had plenty of notice,” Papas said.
He was thankful the project is happening in record time, only lasting days and not years.
“Doing it four days versus a year or two years is huge,” DaPrato said.
Caltrans advises all drivers that, especially come Monday, if you don’t need to travel – stay home.
“Use your vacation time, whatever days you have to get out of town,” said DaPrato. “Just give us the space to get the work done.”MORE NEWS: Woodland Bar Shuts Down After Maskless, Unvaccinated Customers Infect Staff With COVID-19
Caltrans said they are still on schedule. They believe if all goes well, this speedy Highway 99 project could set a trend, putting the wheels in motion for other projects like it across the state.