Widening project on Highway 99 in Madera nearly complete

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A widening project which has added to the traffic congestion on highway 99 in Madera is expected to be done by early summer.

This notorious stretch between Avenue 12 and Avenue 17 has been one people try to avoid if they can.

Lathrisha Brown of Madera said, "You never get on the freeway in Madera from 5 pm to 7 pm because you know there's going to be traffic, there's going to be accidents. So you take the back roads."

Caltrans crews have been widening a four-lane segment of the highway. An additional lane in each direction will ease frustrations and some of the congestion.

Madera County Supervisor Rob Poythress said, "This freeway through Madera has been four lanes literally since 1959 but our population has tripled since that time."

The $86 million dollar widening project started in 2019 but should be finished in about two and a half months.

Caltrans spokesperson Larry Johnson said, "It looks like we're on target, pending any delays of course, for July 1st it could be complete."

Completion couldn't come soon enough for commuters who said motorists fail to slow down in this construction zone.

Arianna Sanchez of Madera explained, "I don't drive on the 99 because it's very dangerous and I have three kids, so I avoid it at any costs."
Businesses have also had their flow of customers disrupted due to ramp closures.

Angel Agustin of Madera said, "It's just really frustrating. I'm trying to get to work and there's too much traffic, and I can't even go anywhere else because the exits are too far apart."

Caltrans estimated 80,000 vehicles pass through this stretch of highway each day.

Traffic tie-ups can make it difficult for emergency crews to get to accident scenes.

Johnson said, "Especially with the lanes divided like we have right now, it causes a real big backup. We've had a couple this week."

Supervisor Poythress added Madera County was still trying to secure state funding to expand the widening project between Avenue 7 and Avenue 12.
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