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Interstate 80 improvements roll on

Next phase to be finished in fall 2010; cost $31.2 million
By: Lauren Weber The Press-Tribune
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Construction and improvements continue on Interstate 80, and officials at Caltrans promise worthy results. Will Kempton, director of the California Department of Transportation, and other transportation officials addressed members of the media Tuesday, stating that the project will bring in more than $1 billion in improvements along I-80 from the Bay Area to the Nevada state line. “These projects are designed to improve mobility on this vital artery,” Kempton said. “Not only will these projects collectively provide a safe and dependable route for the traveling public, but will help move goods from our state to the rest of the nation.” Phase one of the construction from Riverside Avenue to Douglas Boulevard has been completed and people have seen the benefits, Kempton said. Phase two, which runs through the Placer County line to west of Miners Ravine, between Lead Hill Boulevard and Eureka Road, is underway and will include additional bus and carpool lanes. The construction cost for phase two is $31.2 million in Proposition 1B funds and is scheduled to finish in Fall 2010. Celia McAdam, executive director of the Placer County Transportation Agency, said the project has been more cost-effective than originally thought because of lower bids. She said the improvements will reduce travel time and greenhouse gas emissions and save people gallons of gas. The project will also completely eliminate the Roseville “bottleneck” on eastbound I-80, where drivers are crowded into three lanes from five. “There’s a lot of localized traffic that uses the freeway,” McAdam said. And the improvement of the auxiliary lanes, lanes used for merging or exiting I-80, will keep the traffic flowing, she added. The project is promised to improve traffic flow, safety and freeway capacity along the interstate. “The condition of I-80 up the hill is an embarrassment to the state and we’re going to fix it,” he said. Kempton recalled traveling on I-80 in traffic one winter, wishing he could pack snow to cover the Caltrans logo on his car. The Placer County phases of the project have been a result of a partnership among Caltrans, PCTPA, the city of Roseville, Placer County and Congressman John Doolittle, R-Roseville. Frank Robinson, representing Doolittle, who has been in support of the improvement projects, said Tuesday that this is an important and needed upgrade for the area. “I know it’s tough sitting in traffic and eventually you’ll feel the rewards,” Robinson said.