New sections of Braided Ramps project open

FRESNO, Calif.

Fresno's freeways are getting more connected and that drive is getting a bit easier. Commuters coming from Highway 180 west can take their own lanes to get Downtown or to North Fresno. And there is now a direct path from the Highway 168 to the Highway 41.

"It was awesome. I was hesitant because I always get off on McKinley, but I thought I'm going to give it a shot and there was no traffic! And I got right on 41 and off Divisadero and here I am, I'm early enough to get my Starbucks," Clovis resident Kristi Garcia said.

For Garcia after months of taking detours, she says her drive was a pleasant one and it saved her time.

"Oh gosh at least 20 to 25 minutes. At least, we would be sitting in bumper to bumper," Garcia said.

For the past year, she says the freeway caused her headaches and even an accident. Garcia is glad to see the changes.

"But right now all traffic is in the same configuration that will be when we're done, making the same turns," Pat Hinterberger said.

Hinterberger is the braided ramps construction manager. He says crews still need to tie in another lane to the southbound 41 to complete the westbound work, but for now the focus is on eastbound 180.

"We're hoping to do another switch in the coming week in the eastbound direction. That will again put traffic in the final configuration," Hinterberger said.

While the commute west just got easier drivers say they're not exactly looking forward to the return trip home. They just can't wait until they are no longer commuting in a construction zone.

The $50 million project is expected to be completed in march. Engineers expect the new roadways to accommodate the Valley's traffic for the next 20 years.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.