FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Overnight traffic will get detoured on Highway 99 near Clinton Avenue because of a major demolition project this week.
The Clinton Avenue overpass is being taken down to make way for high-speed rail. Officials say it's going to take the next four nights to completely remove the overpass.
Once they do that, they'll then start the process to rebuild it and have it ready for traffic by the fall. Heavy duty tractors are moving rubble and clearing debris just as crews prepare to demolish the overpass in west-central Fresno to make room for high-speed rail.
This $1 million project is being done this week during overnight hours to avoid traffic delays.
"Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday nights - we're going to have the freeway closed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. while we work on demolishing the Clinton Avenue overpass," Cory Burkarth with Caltrans said.
It's a project Caltrans has been working on for months, and the two-mile stretch of highway is being moved west by 100 feet as part of the Highway 99 realignment project.
The plan is to take down the southbound side of the overpass Monday and Tuesday nights, before removing the northbound side Wednesday and Thursday. Traffic will be detoured at Highway 99 in both directions during the overnight hours only.
"Northbound traffic can easily bypass the overpass and miss the work completely, the southbound traffic we're going to be bringing them off at Shields Avenue and from Shields, they'll turn left to Marks, they'll head down Marks, and they'll be able to get back on Clinton," Burkarth explained.
Once the overpass is demolished, Caltrans expects to have a new bridge rebuilt and ready for commuters in six months.
"In order to meet that window, we've got to hit stages at certain times in the calendar," Burkarth said. "We're confident in the plan we have in place. "We've had years to work up to this point, so we're very confident in the plan in place and look forward to implementing it."
Officials actually closed the overpass last week to prepare for demolition.
Since the overpass is closed during construction, Caltrans is making it easier for people who live and work in the area to get across the freeway by providing a free daily shuttle service.
"That's an area that has a lot of pedestrian traffic a lot of foot traffic in addition to that a lot of handicap traffic so one of the ways we could serve them throughout this project it was a pretty easy decision for us to make," Burkarth said. "The shuttle is going to be a great service."