Thursday, November 30, 2006

New Road Building

This is real good news, and long overdue.

Bottleneck buster
Officials unveil $210 million plan to tackle the traffic squeeze on I-80 in South Placer
By Tony Bizjak and Jennifer K. Morita - Bee Staff WritersPublished 12:00 am PST Thursday, November 30, 2006

After years of mounting congestion and driver complaints, Placer County officials Wednesday unveiled a $210 million battle plan to bust open the notorious "Roseville bottleneck" on Interstate 80, where traffic abruptly squeezes from 10 lanes to six.

Officials said they will expand the freeway in stages, between the Sacramento County line and Highway 65. The roadway will feature diamond lanes and auxiliary lanes -- connecting onramps to offramps -- that will act as fifth lanes.

But planners admit there is a big problem at the moment: They have only $80 million in hand.

Still, Celia McAdam, executive director of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency, said the project is well-positioned to be among the first to grab a chunk of the $20 billion in bonds California voters approved this month for transportation projects.

"Breaking this bottleneck is a top priority for Placer County, but not just Placer," McAdam said Wednesday at a freeway-side announcement. "Folks all the way down to the Bay Area know what you are talking about" when the bottleneck is mentioned.

Roseville resident Ray Giles said the bottleneck adds 15 minutes to his morning commute into Sacramento -- and he travels through only half of it.

"If you live in Auburn or west of the Antelope exit, you've got to use that whole corridor and it'll add at least a half hour to your commute," he said.

It's not just a local problem, Giles said.

With rapid growth in South Placer, the 4-mile section of freeway has become the spot where county residents, commuters, interstate truckers, Tahoe-bound travelers, Galleria shoppers and even casino patrons merge into one unhappy mess.