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Highway 65 being rerouted next week
Drivers between Yuba County and the Roseville/Rocklin area on Highway 65 are weeks away from seeing Lincoln only in the distance.
With a rerouting of traffic around unincorporated Sheridan beginning next week, Caltrans will begin final construction on an 11.7-mile, $292 million bypass of 65 around the Placer County city.
Dawn Johnson, who commutes four to five days a week from Folsom to her job in Yuba City, said she's been counting the days lately.
"When I first started it two years ago, it wasn't too bad," said Johnson, the marketing director at Yuba Sutter Mall. "Now the traffic is horrible."
Eliminating the stop-and-go nature of going through the heart of Lincoln and decreasing traffic time is the goal for the bypass, which is scheduled to formally open this fall.
Caltrans spokesman Gilbert Mohtes-Chan said the temporary configuration will send drivers on a path between the current road and Union Pacific railroad tracks to the west. Rerouting traffic will allow construction crews to connect the bypass to existing Highway 65 nearby.
Once the bypass opens, drivers should notice a difference, he said. Initial projections for the bypass estimated a 300 percent reduction in delays if it were built.
"They'll save a valuable amount of time," he said. "It's more of an expressway in that section."
But the bypass will still have three stoplights: One in Sheridan, one at West Wise Road near Lincoln, and one at Nelson Lane west of Lincoln.
Carl Berexa, Caltrans senior resident engineer for the bypass project, said those lights will be mostly to
accommodate local traffic and shouldn't be as busy as those on 65 now in downtown Lincoln.
But even when the bypass opens, the work won't quite be done, both Berexa and Mohtes-Chan said. On portions of the bypass, crews will work on a second phase to make it four lanes rather than the current two. The second phase is scheduled to be completed next summer, Mohtes-Chan said.
A new bypass around Lincoln, though, won't be repeated in Wheatland anytime soon.
While it's been discussed, Mohtes-Chan said, there are no current plans to build a new route for Highway 65 around the south Yuba County city.
Yuba County Supervisor Roger Abe said he believes it's simply a matter of dollars, or a lack thereof.
"The county won't be able to do it, and the city I don't think can do it," he said. "Caltrans doesn't have the money to do it."
When the economy recovers and housing gears up again, Abe said, it might generate the kind of local fees necessary to explore such a project.
Mohtes-Chan added new population in Yuba County would also make the case for a bypass if it meant 65 became more congested through Wheatland.
In the meantime, Johnson said she'll be happy to save time on her commute, but does see one downside.
"I'll have to remember to fill up in Roseville," she said. "I've got to think the Lincoln merchants don't like it."
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at email@example.com or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.