The last of two interim solutions to reduce eastbound 120 Bypass congestion and carnage between Union Road and the Highway 99 interchange is now in place.
Caltrans earlier this month completed the installation of four oversized signs to alert motorists of the upcoming split when the Bypass reaches the Highway 99 interchange.
The signs that were placed on existing overcrossings or sign trusses on eastbound 120 between Interstate 5 and 99 read:
“SR-99 exit 3 miles” at the Airport Way overcrossing.
“SR-99 North Sacramento, SR-120 Yosemite Sonora” and “SR-99 South Modesto Fresno 2 miles” at the Union Road overcrossing.
“SR-99 North Sacramento, SR-120 Yosemite Sonora” and “SR-99 South Modesto Fresno 1 mile” at the Main Street overcrossing.
“SR-99 North Sacramento, SR-120 Yosemite Sonora” and “SR-99 South Modesto Fresno exit only” at the existing sign trusses just prior to Highway 99.
Motorists — such as Councilman Richard Silverman — have reported noticing more drivers seem to be moving over sooner.
The majority of the fatal accidents have involved at least one driver who is not from the general region, underscoring the need to get into the right lane to head toward Modesto on Highway 99 takes some motorists by surprise.
Caltrans late last year installed an additional electronic warning sign between Union Road and Airport Way on eastbound 120 that is tied into four traffic monitoring installations using cameras to give motorists real time updates on slowing and backed up traffic. That project cost $578,000.
There are two alternates being considered for the long-term improvement.
The first would widen the connector to southbound 99 to two lanes, construct braided ramps (that are physically separated from freeway lanes) at the Austin Road interchange and replace the Austin Road crossing to provide an additional southbound 99 through lane. In some instances braided ramps require constructing bridge structures to send traffic above other lanes.
The second option would widen the connector to two lanes, permanently close Austin Road on and off ramps and replace the Austin Road overcrossing to provide an additional southbound 99 through lane.
Mayor Steve DeBrum said recently that San Joaquin County Council of Government staff was informed money that some of the money Caltrans had hoped to use for the long-term solution was shifted to Southern California. DeBrum has vowed to keep regional pressure up to get a long-term solution in place.
The long-term project is proposed for funding with help from Measure K sales tax and savings from the Proposition 1B projects for Highway 99 improvements through the Central Valley as well as federal money.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com