San Francisco

Light Traffic Prompts Caltrans to Fast-Track Highway 101 Work in SF

Project at the I-280-Alemany interchange was scheduled for July

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Caltrans is taking advantage of less congested roadways to get an early start on a major highway project in San Francisco.

Crews on Friday began work on an 800-foot stretch of Highway 101 at the Interstate 280-Alemany interchange, a project that originally was scheduled to begin in July when traffic typically is lighter.

Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney says they moved up the $37 million project since people are sheltering at home right now.

"We have sort of a built-in 40 to 50 percent traffic decrease on this freeway, so it’s giving us the opportunity to do this project early and reduce the impacts," Ney said.

There’s a silver lining to the coronavirus that Caltrans is taking advantage of. It has fast-tracked a major highway project that many feared would cause “carmageddon” this summer. As NBC Bay Area’s Jaxon Van Derbeken reports, with so few cars on the road, a freeway detour might not even hold you up right now.

The stretch of Highway 101 that runs over Alemany Boulevard is seven decades old, and it shows. There are gaps and chunks missing in the deteriorating concrete.

Crews already installed planking that will support workers when they start tearing down the deck Friday morning.

The California Highway Patroil will detour northbound traffic onto Interstate 280 while southbound traffic will stay on 101 and alternate, using the side not being rebuilt at the time.

Caltrans says drivers' speeds must come down to 35 mph along the work area.

The project could be done in as little as six days, but Caltrans put the finish date as the first Monday in May.

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