Major improvement projects could cause backups on Highway 99

MADERA, Calif.

Millions are being spent on a series of other projects to improve traffic flow and safety. Caltrans says in order to pay for all of this work to improve the flow of traffic the work has to happen now or the money could be gone.

"The only time it seems you can get on the freeway is at night," said Madera resident Glenn Hardy. "And even then it's closed off."

The backups are not exclusively at night. Until the end of the month Avenue 12 on-ramp to Highway 99 north will be closed during the morning commute and reopen around 4:30 pm, in time for the drive home.

When it's done Avenue 12 will go from a work zone to looking like the newer overpass in Fairmead. "Right now we have to pay the price of running late, sitting through it," said Guadalupe Gomez. "Going to school in Fresno it does get pretty bad."

Caltrans acknowledges all of the construction at the same time is a pain for drivers, but spokesperson Gloria Rodriguez says it's now or probably never. The multi-million dollar projects are partially being paid for by taxpayer initiatives specific to road improvements. "As funding becomes available we have these projects that are earmarked for construction so we can move forward," she said.

Madera County is also repaving part of Avenue 9 between Road 33 ½ and Road 36. Expect delays as traffic cuts to one lane at times.

And though your drive may be slow, when all is said and done, your drive should be smoother and safer.

"There's light at the end of the tunnel, so I guess we'll be okay," Gomez said.

"I feel like traffic is going to breeze right through and make it easier for people who are just commuting right past Madera and make it a whole lot easier for me," Hardy said.

Several of the projects will take years to complete.

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