Monday, February 12, 2007

'08 Should Be Big Year for I-80

'08 Should Be Big Year for I-80
By Barry Eberling

FAIRFIELD - Summer, 2008 should see the start of the long-awaited, $124 million reconstruction of Interstate 80 in Solano County.

When it's all over after a couple years of work, the huge potholes that keep opening in the concrete slabs should be no problem for at least two decades. In addition, Solano County will have its first carpool lanes.

"It's going to be busy in 2008," Solano Transportation Authority Director of Projects Janet Adams said.

Local drivers for years have complained about the condition of I-80 in the Fairfield and Vacaville areas. Driving these stretches, especially in the right-hand lanes used by heavy trucks, can seem like an amusement park ride because of the jarring bumps.

The state Department of Transportation made $2 million in emergency repairs last year, replacing some 250 concrete slabs in the Fairfield-Vacaville area that had the worst damage. Still, that only scratched the surface.

Caltrans has three I-80 renovation projects planned for the county. They are:

- The 15-mile stretch between Highway 12 near central Fairfield and a mile east of Leisure Town Road near Vacaville. The latest cost estimate is $77.2 million.

- The 3.4-mile stretch between Green Valley Creek near Cordelia and American Canyon Road in the hills between Fairfield and Vallejo. The cost is $21.8 million.

- The four-mile stretch between Tennessee Street in Vallejo and American Canyon Road at a cost of $25.3 million.

Work on the Fairfield-to-Vacaville section could begin in 2008, with the part between Air Base Parkway and Leisure Town Road coming first, Adams said.

The stretch between Air Base Parkway and Highway 12 overlaps the $80 million carpool lane project, which is from Red Top Road to just east of Air Base Parkway. Renovation work there won't be done until the carpool lanes are finished, possibly in late 2009, Adams said.

The other two renovation projects between Fairfield and Vallejo could start in 2008, she said.

Workers will crack the concrete and overlay it with layers of asphalt, Adams said. With minor maintenance, the renovated freeway pavement should have a 20-year lifespan, she said.

In the meantime, motorists will have to continue putting up with the bad pavement that keeps getting worse with rain and wear-and-tear.

A section of pavement several feet long near Allison Drive in Vacaville caved in Jan. 9. A motorist reported the incident to the California Highway Patrol after her car suffered minor damage when she drove over the failed pavement at night. Caltrans repaired the pavement.

Adams said Caltrans will likely have to make some repairs to the freeway before the big renovation job gets started in 2008.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646 Ext. 232 or at

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