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Interchange project means smoother ride for Highway 65

By: Nathan Donato-Weinstein, Gold Country News Service
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A safer, smoother ride will greet travelers along one of the region’s busiest arteries that links Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln. Local dignitaries broke ground Wednesday on the Highway 65-Sunset Boulevard interchange project in Rocklin. The $25-million project will finally eliminate one of the biggest traffic hurdles for thousands of drivers daily: the stoplight-controlled intersection at Highway 65 and Sunset Boulevard. That’s a safety issue as well as a time-sapper, said Jody Jones, district director for Caltrans. “If drivers (traveling on Highway 65) are not really familiar with an area, they’re not prepared to stop at a signal,” Jones said. A six-lane overpass will connect Sunset to Highway 65, using a partial-cloverleaf interchange that will move westbound Sunset traffic to southbound Highway 65 and eastbound Sunset motorists to northbound Highway 65. The project is the last interchange upgrade project sponsored by the Highway 65 Joint Powers Authority. Members including Placer County, Rocklin and Roseville contributed funding; the United Auburn Indian Community, whose Thunder Valley Casino is located off Highway 65, also fronted nearly $5 million. Supervisor Robert Weygandt said the project will make the county’s Sunset Industrial Area more attractive to businesses; the county hopes to lure thousands of jobs to the region but the existing interchange has worked against the sales effort. “This will open up in a huge way the Sunset Industrial Area,” he said. The project is slated to be completed in fall 2010.