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Local and state officials have updated plans for widening Interstate 80 through Roseville in order to expedite improvements to the stretch of freeway where traffic bottlenecks are most common.

The change was necessary because cost estimates for the freeway-widening project are approaching $210 million and only about $74.7 million currently is available.

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A newly revised phasing plan calls for adding two carpool lanes in 2008: one for eastbound motorists and one for westbound traffic. The new lanes initially will be installed from the Placer-Sacramento county line to just past Douglas Boulevard.

Under the old plan, the first two phases consisted of improvements for eastbound traffic only. It called for adding an auxiliary lane for eastbound traffic from Riverside Avenue to Douglas during the first phase. During the second phase, an eastbound carpool lane would have been constructed as far as possible up to State Route 65 with available funds.

The updated plan does not change the first phase, which is scheduled to be constructed next year.

At the urging of Placer County Supervisor Ted Gaines, state and local agencies took another look at options for the second phase, agreeing on the plan for providing new carpool lanes in both directions.

In recent meetings, the updated plan has been endorsed by Placer County, local cities, the California Department of Transportation and Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA).

‘Adding a carpool lane in both directions is the quickest available option to significantly improve the flow of freeway traffic through Roseville,’ said Supervisor Gaines, who also is a member of PCTPA’s board of directors. ‘That’s why I urged everyone to take a serious look at that option and why I am so pleased they agreed it’s a good idea. This is a great example of how local and state officials work together to do what is best for the public in Placer County.’

He thanked county Public Works Director Ken Grehm, Roseville Public Works Director Rob Jensen, Caltrans Project Manager Gary Sidhu and PCTPA Executive Director Celia McAdam for their teamwork in updating the phasing plan.

The PCTPA provides a forum for making decisions about the regional transportation system in Placer County. The agency’s members include Placer County, the town of Loomis and the cities of Auburn, Colfax, Lincoln, Rocklin and Roseville.

‘Breaking the bottleneck is an important first step in Placer County’s overall traffic improvement plan,’ McAdam said. ‘We are investing the dollars we have wisely, and extended I-80 carpool lanes represent the beginning of many improvements we are planning throughout the area. To achieve our goals, a permanent local revenue source must be created so we can secure Placer’s fair share of federal and state matching dollars to deliver projects that will reduce traffic congestion for decades to come.’

Led by Congressman John Doolittle, federal officials set aside more than $61 million for the freeway widening about a year ago.
The ultimate $210 million project will widen a five-mile stretch of Interstate 80 from the Sacramento-Placer county line to just east of Highway 65. Carpool and auxiliary lanes between interchanges are proposed.

Caltrans is designing the project and serves as lead agency for environmental review work. It has been working with local agencies to phase the project, since available funding is less than the projected cost.

ย ‘The main advantage of the revised plan is it helps reduce traffic congestion in both directions right where the main bottlenecks are,’ Supervisor Gaines said.

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