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Necessary Highway 65 Widening Could Cost $60 Million

PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) — If you're familiar with Placer County, you know Highway 65, between Rocklin and Roseville involves a nasty commute. But a highway widening project is finally getting some traction.

It'll take years to widen and revamp Highway 65, but easing congestion will come at a cost.

It's slow going on Highway 65 on a Friday afternoon, post-morning rush hour. A simulation of Highway 65 during the peak commute shows cars moving even slower. Commuters hate it.

"Miserable," said one driver.

"It's terrible all the time, all day, every day," said another.

Fran Dunkin says the traffic tacked at least 20 minutes to her drive to the doctor, from Citrus Heights to Placer County. But a possible solution to the slowness is finally in the works: a massive highway-widening project.

"During peak times of commute hours, there's extreme congestion and even with future growth, they expect anywhere from 100,000 to 90,000 vehicles a day that travel that section," said Caltrans Spokesman Gilbert Mohtes-Chan.

Caltrans is a key player in the expansion plan. The goal is to widen Highway 65 from four to six lanes between Interstate 80 and Blue Oaks Boulevard. That doesn't include auxiliary lanes in both directions.

It's only Phase 1. For now, Caltrans is grappling with the question of cost. At an estimated $60 million, where will the money come from?

"It's hard to say. We're just looking at the environmental stage then it's up to competing for a lot of other projects around the state for funding," said Mohtes-Chan.

With a reputation as the most congested corridor in Placer County, commuters hope a combination of local, state and federal dollars will come through. If approved for funding, Caltrans says the project would only be ready for construction by 2020.

The Placer County Transportation Planning Agency is leading the project. Officials are hosting a public hearing for residents at 9 a.m. on Wednesday at the Placer County Board of Supervisors Chambers located at 175 Fulweiler Ave. in Auburn.

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