Friday, February 23, 2007

Wolk Backs Fix At I-80, 680 Merge

Wolk Backs Fix At I-80, 680 Merge
By Erin Pursell/Staff Writer

Support is building for much-needed improvements at the Interstate 80 and I-680 interchange.

Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, D-Solano, earlier this week urged the California Transportation Commission to allocate funds toward reducing congestion at the interchange - one of the busiest in Northern California, according to transportation officials.

In a letter to CTC Chair Marian Bergeson, Wolk criticized the agency for excluding the project in its tentative recommendations for funding in the upcoming round of state bond allocations.

"This highway is used by commuters and businesses from the Bay Area, North Bay, Solano and Sacramento Area, as well as travelers from around the state," Wolk's letter reads. "The I-80/I-680 interchange is a critical component for resolving congestion to the I-80 corridor."

Wolk also telephoned Bergeson to express her concern, according to Wolk's press office.

The interchange project already has been designated a high priority by the Solano Transportation Authority and is supported by the Governor, Caltrans and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Planned improvements aim to increase the interchange's capacity, reduce congestion and speed travel times by adding additional lanes, improving access to and from the freeway and upgrading surrounding local roads.

"The project would provide better freeway-to-freeway connections and access to and from I-80. And it would update 30-year-old facilities to meet current safety and operational standards and to provide improved commuter mobility and goods movement," Wolk's letter reads.

STA has requested $150 million in state funding for improvement projects, and that would be applied toward the $323 million estimated cost for the phase of construction that is expected to begin by 2011.

"This has been our number one priority for federal and state funds consistently for the last five years," said Daryl Halls, STA executive director.

The total estimated cost for all the I-80/I-680 interchange work that is expected to be completed by 2030 is $885 million to $1.2 billion.

"This is a phased approach to this interchange," Halls explained. "There's still additional things to do and more funding we'll need in the future."

The CTC is scheduled to make a final decision on allocation of the highway bond funds at its Feb. 28 meeting.

For more information about this project and others along I-80, visit Erin Pursell can be reached at

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