Drivers on Highway 180 through downtown Fresno are still getting used to a new traffic pattern that debuted recently between Fulton Street and Highway 99.
The excavation of a trench to accommodate future high-speed train tracks means that at different stages of construction, the lanes of the highway above need to be shifted around. The two-mile trench will carry the rail line under the freeway, as well as beneath the nearby Dry Creek Canal and a freight railroad spur line.
The work is being done by contractors for the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
The latest shift in lane patterns represents Stage 2 of the five-stage project. It involves pushing the westbound lanes of the freeway onto a temporary bridge on the north side of the road. A second temporary bridge is being built in the median between the east- and westbound lanes. In a few months, the eastbound lanes will be shifted over to allow the excavation to continue below.
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The current lane patterns are expected to be in effect for about four months. After that, drivers will have to get used to yet another set of lane patterns as the construction moves ahead.