Work on Highway 99 northbound lanes near Avenue 12 begins

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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Work on Highway 99 northbound lanes near Avenue 12 begins
Work has officially started on a major highway in Madera County. The northbound lanes on Highway 99 near Avenue 12 will be closed most of the year.

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Work has officially started on a major highway in Madera County.

Wednesday was the first day of the lane shift switch, which started at six o'clock in the morning.

The changes are on Highway 99, near the Avenue 12 off-ramp exit.

The northbound lanes will be closed for most of the year, the southbound side opened half of its lane for the traffic switch.

Signs are posted along Highway 99, warning drivers about the closure and the crews that are at work.

Caltrans says traffic has been moving smoothly in both directions.

The agency adds there have been no incidents reported so far.

RELATED: Work on Highway 99 northbound lanes near Avenue 12 set to begin

"We do want to recommend drivers heading up there to, watch out for the new curve as they're heading north," said Larry Johnson, the spokesperson for Caltrans District 6.

But for some commuters, the change came as a surprise to them. Especially with the Avenue 12 off-ramp closure.

Ethan Garcia told his friends how he was a few minutes late to his Wednesday morning class because of the lane shift switch.

Garcia normally takes the Avenue 12 off-ramp exit to get to Madera Community College, but instead saw the barrier block it off.

"I wasn't prepared for it," said Garcia. "I got into the right lane thinking I was just going to get off. I had to get back in the left and go and hurry up and get to class."

Garcia drives from Fresno to the college campus.

He says it's a drive that normally takes him 10 minutes. But his morning drive took him a little bit more time.

"Took me about two extra miles to go to the next exit," said Garcia. "Then 15 minutes extra just to get to class."

Garcia now plans to leave his home extra early so that he's not late to class again.

Madera Community College spokesperson Cory Burkharth said they've prepared for the construction changes.

The college also notified students and staff about it.

But there are also graduation celebrations happening next month at the college campus.

"We'll have a lot of people coming to our campus to celebrate our graduates who have never been here before," said Burkharth. "But we'll communicating that out through our graduates so that they can share that message with their families about the Avenue 12 closure."

While these changes are an inconvenience for drivers, Caltrans said it's important to get this next phase of the project done.

The agency said this will make the drive between Fresno and Madera Counties safer and easier.

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