Fresno's braided ramp project causing confusion

January 13, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A major highway project is now underway, and it's already causing confusion for some Valley drivers.

Caltrans shut down part of Highway 180 to start work on the braided ramp project. Action News spotted some drivers struggling to deal with the detours. And the closure could have a big impact on your morning commute.

Caltrans workers are asking drivers to pay extra attention to roadwork signs when they head down 180 this week.

Caroline Madrid has never been a fan of driving down Highway 180.

Madrid explained, "Especially at the five o'clock hour or eight in the morning it's very confusing."

Madrid thinks the route is too congested and the current merge is even a little scary. She said, "They have to make it safe."

Construction crews working on the braided ramp project say the goal is to ease the commute.

"People are trying to merge at the same point and they are trying to get it so that, that happens sooner and with a lot less conflict."

On Monday morning construction crews will officially be in the traffic shift phase portion of the project.

Caltrans workers have already shut down one of the eastbound 180 lanes between Highways 41 and 168.

The goal of that lane closure is to make room for crews to build the ramp. The ramps are being installed so drivers from the 41 and 168, can bypass the 180 altogether.

Pat Hinterberger said, "In the end when the project is done the goal is to make it easier for traffic to safely travel from 168 to 41 and reverse."

Once work is completed on the eastbound lanes, crews plan to make the same changes to the westbound portion. But in the meantime: expect some big changes.

Drivers: when you head down eastbound 180, watch out for roadwork signs when you hit Van Ness, and once you get to Highway 41, expect to merge to the left.

"Until people get used to it there will probably be some pain some congestion, we are asking for patience."

Caltrans expects to complete the project in the fall of this year. They're asking drivers to be extra cautious when heading this way as there will be a numbers of workers on the highway.