Highway 50 work under way to improve traffic flow

By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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Construction has begun once again on Highway 50 at the El Dorado Hills Boulevard on- and off- ramps that is designed to ease congestion.

The current project widens Highway 50 at El Dorado Hills, re-routes the westbound off ramp and relocates the westbound onramp, said John Kahling, deputy director of construction for the El Dorado County Department of Transportation

“The project changes the ramp on the westbound direction so that it goes over El Dorado Hills Boulevard and loops back around,” Kahling said. “(The off ramp) will then be opposite the Jack in the Box and 76 Station.”

The existing westbound Highway 50 onramp will be moved just north of the new off-ramp, not far from its current location.

“This will basically take that interchange and remove a signal from it,” Kahling said. “Instead of two signals (near Saratoga on the north side of Highway 50), there will be one.”

That’s good news for drivers who frequent the multiple intersection and light challenge as they make their way from north El Dorado Hills to Town Center in the south.

“I hate the two stop lights that are right in a row because they aren’t timed right,” said Kirra Phillips, of El Dorado Hills. “If all this construction eventually leads to a smoother flow of traffic, that will be awesome.”

That’s the goal, according to Kahling.

“This will provide an improvement to the capacity of that interchange,” Kahling said. “This is one of those projects you get excited about.”

The $15.5 million project is state funded.

An HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lane was added to both the west- and eastbound lanes of Highway 50 during Phase 1 of the project.

Phase 2 is the addition of HOV lanes from Bass Lake Road to Cameron Park Drive. That portion of the project is nearing completion.

The majority of the funding for the highway project is being provided by Proposition 1B approved by voters in November 2008. Phase 2 of the Highway 50 HOV lanes is funded by the “Casino Settlement Agreement” between the county and the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians. More work is on the horizon for Highway 50 in El Dorado Hills.

The next phase will add onramps north and southbound at Silva Valley Road.

“The ramps will be east of the existing Silva Valley Road where it goes under Highway 50,” Kahling said.

To move that portion of the project forward, the Board of Supervisors must approve a request for advertisement that will allow the DOT to advertise for bids.