High-speed rail work could affect your freeway commute. Where, when is it scheduled?

A short stretch of Highway 99 at the south end of Fresno will be closed at night for about six weeks as construction crews extend a viaduct over the freeway for future high-speed rail tracks.

The highway will be closed between Cedar and North avenues from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. nightly, the authority reported. The work, which will begin Sunday night, is part of the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s work in the central San Joaquin Valley to build a 119-mile segment from north of Madera to Bakersfield.

The 3,700-foot-long viaduct will carry trains up and over North Avenue, Cedar Avenue and Highway 99 as the tracks curve on their route from downtown Fresno toward Hanford. Work on the elevated structure began more than three years ago when crews began digging and pouring footings for the support columns.

Drivers traveling north on Highway 99 will be detoured onto the Cedar Avenue exit; north on Cedar Avenue, west on North Avenue to the North Avenue on-ramp back to the freeway. For drivers heading south on the freeway, the detour will take them off at the North Avenue off-ramp, east to Cedar Avenue, and south on Cedar to the southbound 99 on-ramp.

Signage and flag people will be in place to direct traffic during the closure hours.

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Lifelong Valley resident Tim Sheehan has worked in the Valley as a reporter and editor since 1986, and has been at The Fresno Bee since 1998. He is currently The Bee’s data reporter and covers California’s high-speed rail project and other transportation issues. He grew up in Madera, has a journalism degree from Fresno State and a master’s degree in leadership studies from Fresno Pacific University.