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Massive I-5 Construction: How Will It Benefit Drivers?

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — One of the largest construction projects in Sacramento history has begun.

Major improvements to Interstate 5 between the American River Bridge and the Elk Grove Boulevard crossing will happen over the next three years.

Caltrans leaders are not sugar coating the traffic headaches this will cause. They're telling I-5 drivers some may need to add 30 minutes to their commute.

"It's amazing to think that 1975 was the last time Sacramento saw a project of this magnitude," said David Kim, Secretary of the California State Transportation Agency.

Many drivers are wondering what they're in for with this project. CBS13 asked Caltrans what drivers should expect now. A spokesperson said initially, drivers won't see much of a problem.

The only thing going on right now is electrical and drainage work which crews can do from the interstate shoulder.

In fact, according to Caltrans, lane closures won't happen for at least another year.

"I'm kind of worried about my commute now, as for my commute in the future, who knows what's going to happen by then," said Gregory Sims, an I-5 driver.

When the closures do happen, drivers know it will be bad, but what spots will congestion be the worst? Caltrans couldn't give specific locations but said in general, bad congestion will happen in areas where the interstate is narrow, where lane closures have more impact.

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Caltrans said they will try and do most of the lane closure work at night and on weekends.

"It really captures a vision for the future of transportation in Sacramento and it's going to serve the public exceedingly well," Kim said.

How exactly will construction benefit drivers? Caltrans said commute times could be reduced by up to 13 minutes, thanks to more carpool and auxiliary lanes that allow people to exit sooner. Construction includes 23 new miles of carpool lanes.

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