Construction chaos led to long delays on Highway 99

FRESNO, Calif.

Traffic along the southbound lanes was backed up from Shaw all the way to Avenue 9 in Madera. For several hours, only one lane of southbound 99 was open and traffic moved at a snail-like pace.

Rachel Sanchez of Madera got caught up in the back-up around 7a.m. She was heading to Fresno City College, but wound up arriving about 20 minutes late to class.

Action News asked, "And were a lot of people late today?"

Rachel Sanchez of Madera said, "I saw a couple people walk in after me and then just from talk from people I know that had to drive that way. They were saying too."

Workers have been busy widening Highway 99 to six lanes. The 17-million dollar project started in October 2010 and is expected to be complete by January 2012. A Caltrans spokesperson says a problem came up Wednesday when concrete didn't set properly overnight. Then, pot holes started to form.

Gloria Rodriguez with Caltrans said, "The weight of the vehicles and when they're going through with the speed and the trucks, it kinda compromised those sections that were repaired."

By mid-afternoon, traffic was back to normal. Caltrans crews are particularly busy this time of year, in large part, because of the weather.

"We are really busy right now," said Rodriguez. "A lot of our projects are going to be going into winter suspension soon, but because of the fact we've had nicer weather for a longer period of time. They're taking advantage of the weather."

As for Highway 99, if all goes as planned, commuters should not expect any delays Thursday morning.

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