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Work on I-80, Highway 65 interchange underway

By: Steve Archer, Reporter
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Construction of major improvements to the Interstate 80 and Highway 65 interchange is underway the last few weeks and the project is going great, according to Placer County Transportation Planning Agency executive director Mike Luken.

The project is a partnership between the planning agency and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). The $50 million project is expected to wrap up in 2020, according to Luken.

“We are on time and on schedule now,” Luken said Friday. “This is Phase I of a $450 million upgrade to the interchange, one of the most vital congestion points in the region.”

Specifically, work is being done on the northbound lane to the Stanford Ranch/Galleria Boulevard exit.

“We’re adding an additional lane from I-80 all the way to Stanford Ranch/Galleria Boulevard and fixing a number of turning movements,” Luken said. Turning movements are often areas where motorists cross a number of lanes to make a left-hand turn. “There will be a number of improvements to make the interchange work more efficiently.”

“This is really important to the region and South Placer County. Highway 65 is one of the chief ways people use to get around,” Luken said.

Funding is not yet available for all project phases, according to Luken.

“There is a $1.3 billion backlog in transportation projects that need matching funds,” Luken said. “We don’t have all the matching funds in place.”

Phase I funding came from money left over from a previous I-80 project that came in under budget and from development impact fees paid into the South Placer Regional Transportation Authority.

Motorists should follow the Caltrans announcements and detour signs, Luken advised.

CalTrans District 3 spokesman Gilbert Mohtes-Chan said Friday that much of the project construction will take place at night.

“We’re trying to avoid lane closures during the day,” Mohtes-Chan said. “As a general rule, motorists can expect lane closures from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. between the interchange and Pleasant Grove Boulevard.”

During this week, however, lane closures can be expected today and Friday.

Mohtes-Chan said work is being done below the viaduct at I-80 and Highway 65, and on the highway itself.

“We’re adding a lane so we have to expand the viaduct structure,” Mohtes-Chan said. “Motorists can also expect closure of the northbound off-ramp to Stanford Ranch/Galleria Boulevard from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., Mondays through Fridays.”

“When the Stanford Ranch/Galleria Boulevard off-ramp is closed, we advise motorists to exit at Pleasant Grove and turn around,” Mohtes-Chan said. “There will also be detour signs out. As a rule, we don’t close consecutive ramps.”

Motorists should plan for alternate routes and watch for construction workers at night, according to Mohtes-Chan.