FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — APRIL 23, 2014 —
Caltrans has tentatively agreed to reimburse West Sacramento for up to about $750,000 in costs related to the “Fix 50” freeway construction project that started yesterday in Sacramento. The city had requested $947,000.
The West Sacramento City Council approved the arrangement last week.
As the lane-closing freeway project kicked off yesterday, West Sacramento was expecting impacts on local streets as drivers tried to get around a congested stretch of eastbound U.S. 50 in Sacramento. City staff anticipated spending about $243,000 in additional police staffing and expenses, $167,000 in fire department staffing and costs and $271,000 in public works.
Plans call for police personnel to take over manual control of ten local intersections during commute hours and for extra staffing to help guide police and fire response. The city also plans to post “changeable message signs” with traffic alerts and to install additional traffic video cameras throughout the city (see www.cityofwestsacramento.org for a look at the live local traffic feed).
Some of the mitigation measures will be reassessed as the Fix 50 project develops, and commuters respond with new driving patterns.
A city staff report said that the revised “Fix 50” plan will close fewer lanes at a time, but the early eastbound phase “is still seen to have a major impact upon traffic congestion in West Sacramento.”
“Traffic on local arterials including Jefferson Boulevard, West Capitol Avenue, Sacramento Avenue, Lake Washington Boulevard, Industrial Boulevard, Harbor Boulevard and Enterprise Boulevard will still increase due to cut-through traffic during construction,” said the report signed by public works director Denix Anbiah. “The ability to move public safety apparatus through the city. . . has improved but will likely still be reduced.”
Unforeseen emergencies – such as a hazardous spill or downed power line – could “magnify by many times” any traffic congestion problems, said the report.
City Manager Martin Tuttle has the power to declare a “state of emergency” in such an event, while the city council organizes any needed emergency meeting.
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