News

One answer to the I-5 project

With motorists’ eyes all turned to the looming I-5 construction project, one alternative for many workers may come as a surprise – stay at home.

Working out of your home—it used to be called “telecommuting,” now it’s called “teleworking”—by being linked to the office via computer is an increasingly popular way to do a job, in both the private and public sectors. Managers aren’t entirely convinced—they worry about productivity—but surveys show it works, according to CDW-G, a Chicago-based research group that regularly studies the issue.

“There are several advantages to teleworking, one of the biggest being the easing of traffic congestion. We find there is more and more interest, both the private sector and government. Also, high gas prices are clearly driving this,” said CDW-G’s Andy Lausch.
About 14 percent of private-sector employees and 17 percent of federal government employees already telework, according to Lausch. He did not have figures on teleworking by state government employees in California, but the participation level likely would be comparable to federal workers.

The issue is especially critical because of the seven-week construction project on about three-fourths of a mile of Interstate 5 known as the “boat section” between Richards Boulevard and R Street, just east of downtown. Thousands of state and private employees work in downtown Sacramento, and many use I-5 and its exits and on-ramps to get to work. Caltrans launched a public awareness campaign months ago, urging commuters to plan alternate routes into—and out of—downtown Sacramento.

The Interstate 5 renovation project is set to officially get under way tomorrow, May 30, but the full impact on an estimated 190,000 daily motorists probably won’t be felt until Monday, June 2, when the regular commute begins.

Not all routes will be closed all the time. Instead, there will be a staggered series of closures throughout the construction period. A calendar of closures was published in last week’s Capitol Weekly, and can also be found at www.fixi5.com/pdf/FixI5calendar51508.pdf.

All northbound lanes of I-5 will be closed from 8 p.m. on May 30 through 5 a.m. on June 9. All lanes will be open until 8 p.m. on Friday, June 13, at which time all the southbound lanes will be closed through 5 a.m. on June 23. All lanes will be open briefly, until 8 p.m. Thursday, June 26, but then all the northbound lanes will be closed until 5 a.m. on July 3.

In the final stage, all lanes will be open from July 3 through 8 p.m. on July 8, when the southbound lanes will be closed through 5 a.m. on July 15.  After July 15, all lanes will be open.

The public can get the latest project information by visiting www.fixI-5.com, which features live traffic cameras, links to ridesharing and transit resources, answers to frequently asked questions, and historic photos. The public can also sign up for e-mail alerts to receive the latest information about construction and lane closures.

Truckers have their own web page where they can get alternate route information. Another web page will feature specials by local businesses, called “Sacramento is open for business.”

The “Boat Section” was constructed below the water level of the nearby Sacramento River. As one of the last portions of Interstate 5 to be constructed, it was named back when it had to be drained in the late 1960’s. Over the years, sand and silt have created blockages in the drainage system. Those blockages, which force water to the surface, have led to cracks and pavement deterioration. This critical project will repair that drainage system and replace the pavement.


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