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Caltrans begins work on Highway 49, Interstate 80

Motorists reminded to slow for flashing lights
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Locals can expect to slow for flashing lights as Caltrans starts on basic roadside maintenance along Highway 49 and Interstate 80. Rochelle Jenkins, a spokeswoman for Caltrans, said motorists shouldn’t expect delays, but are required by law to stop for any flashing lights, including those of Caltrans vehicles. “Stuff right now is just basic roadside maintenance. We have over 4,000 miles of roadway,” Jenkins said. “So there is always work to be done. Because winter has kind of hidden itself we are taking care of the things that need to be done — everything from ditch cleaning and paving over potholes. Signs that somehow magically disappeared have to be replaced.” Jenkins said most major projects are on winter suspension. The final step in repaving Interstate 80 will begin in May or June at Emigrant Gap. That project will require a traffic shift, she said, but will be worth it in terms of the business that takes place on Interstate 80 each day. “We have one big one on 80 left. That’s the Emigrant Gap project. After the Emigrant Gap is repaved that 1960 pavement will be gone and we will have brand new pavement,” Jenkins said. “A million dollars of commerce travels over 80 every hour.” Jenkins said it is important for motorists to remember that a law was passed last year requiring motorists to slow for any flashing lights. With an average of two to three Caltrans workers dying in traffic collisions each year, she said the law protects both workers and motorists. “Now it’s a ticketable law, when you approach a vehicle with flashing lights, you have to take action. You need to get over to the next adjacent lane if it’s safe, or you are required to slow down,” Jenkins said. “It gives you that buffer that safe zone, to keep a tragedy from happening.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com. _______________________________________________________ Did you know? Caltrans offers real-time traffic and chain control updates for motorists traveling on the Sierra region on Interstate 80 at getacross80.com. Long-term Caltrans Projects Interstate 80 (Placer and Nevada Counties) from Carpenter Flat to Hampshire Rock: Work continues on the $167 million Emigrant Gap project on Interstate 80. Work includes total roadway replacement with Portland Cement Concrete, improving the drainage systems and installing new sediment/debris collection systems. Completion is expected in the fall of 2013. Project is in winter suspension. Short-term Caltrans Projects State Route 49 (Nevada County) from the Placer County line to the Yuba County line: Motorists can expect one-way traffic controls in various locations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. A Caltrans crew is scheduled to do miscellaneous maintenance work. State Route 49 (El Dorado and Placer Counties) from State Route 193 to the Nevada County line: Motorists can expect one-way traffic controls in various locations from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. A Caltrans crew is scheduled to do miscellaneous maintenance work. State Route 49 (Placer County) from El Dorado Street to the East Auburn Underpass: Motorists can expect one-way traffic controls in various locations from 5 a.m. to noon Sunday. A contractor is scheduled to do utility work. Interstate 80 (Placer County) from State Route 193 to Gold Run: Motorists can expect various east and westbound lane closures from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. A Caltrans crew is scheduled to do miscellaneous maintenance work. Interstate 80 (Nevada County) from the Placer County line to the Donner Lake under-crossing: Motorists can expect various east and westbound lane closures from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. A Caltrans crew is scheduled to do grinding operations. The Caltrans District Traffic Management Branch has reviewed each project and determined that individual project delays are expected to be less than the statewide policy maximum of 30 minutes, unless noted otherwise above. Unexpected schedule changes may occur. For current information on roadwork, delays, road conditions and emergency closures, call the voice-activated Caltrans Highway Information Network (CHIN) at 800-427-7623 (ROAD) or visit the Caltrans website at: www.dot.ca.gov