Thursday, January 29, 2009

Watt Avenue At Folsom Boulevard Light Rail Bridge

Trains to Begin Using New Bridge February 2

The Sacramento County Department of Transportation (SACDOT) and Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) have reached a significant construction milestone for a project to build a bridge for light rail trains over Watt Avenue. On February 2, 2009, light rail trains will begin using the new bridge for the first time. Currently, light rail trains are using tracks which are at-grade and run directly across Watt Avenue. Over the weekend of January 30 to February 1, light rail trains will be moved onto this new bridge and off the temporary tracks that were put in place to allow room for bridge construction. This work will take place over a weekend and will have minimal traffic impacts.

Use of the bridge by light rail trains will have an immediate impact on congestion at this busy intersection. During current peak commute hours there are four east bound and four west bound light rail trains crossing Watt Avenue per hour - which cause 7.5 minutes of blocking delay per hour. These crossing delays will be eliminated when light rail trains begin using the new bridge.

The light rail bridge project will be completed by the Summer, when project related road and landscaping improvements and light rail station modifications are finished. This project will result in improved traffic flow and safety, and less congestion for all users of this roadway.

Watt Avenue is a primary north-south arterial street, a designated truck route for business and industry in the Florin-Perkins area and is one of only three American River crossings in the County unincorporated area. The combination of these factors makes improving the Watt Avenue/Folsom Boulevard intersection a top priority for Sacramento County. The light rail bridge over Watt Avenue is the first in a series of projects that will significantly improve safety and congestion in this corridor. This is a cooperative project between SACDOT and Regional Transit that will improve transit and roadways along the Folsom Corridor.

The Watt Avenue Light Rail Bridge and other improvements for the Watt Avenue/Folsom Boulevard intersection will cost approximately $23 million. Project costs are funded with Measure A Sales Tax, the Federal Regional Surface Transportation Program and Regional Transit. Viking Construction is the project contractor.

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