As Elk Grove motorist await Whitelock Parkway interchange for traffic relief, extra left turn lane to be added at chokepoint

The red circle is the approximate are of the proposed Whitelock-Hwy. 99 interchange. |  


Rapidly growing traffic congestion is often cited as one of the most frustrating aspects of living in Elk Grove. Although traffic congestion is happening throughout the city, there is one chokepoint that many claim is the worst.


That would be the Highway 99 and Elk Grove Boulevard interchange. Between the traffic in and out of the Walmart shopping center and the Elk Grove Auto Mall, combined with heavy traffic exiting southbound 99, the area between Auto Mall Drive and East Stockton Boulevard is frequently clogged with motorists.


In an effort to address some of that traffic, Elk Grove will spend $1 million on what they hope will provide some relief. The project is included in the city's recently proposed five-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP). 


Starting on page 237 of the CIP, the project is described as follows:


This project will construct a second eastbound left turn lane on Elk Grove Blvd. to facilitate vehicles entering the Walmart Shopping Center at Auto Center Dr. including replacing the mast arm and supporting pole on the southeast corner with a longer mast arm, so the mast arm head for eastbound left movement can be mounted at the proper location. The project is located at the intersection of Elk Grove Blvd. and Auto Center Dr.


Like most traffic transportation and infrastructure projects in Elk Grove, three-quarters of the $1 million project costs are funded by grants. This project is funded by California Senate Bill 1 gasoline sales taxes. 


The extra lane will help eastbound Elk Grove Boulevard. However, one of the primary sources of congestion, vehicles exiting southbound Highway 99, will remain unaddressed.


The problem with the Highway 99-Elk Grove Boulevard interchange is that it is the only exit before Grant Line Road. Most of Elk Grove's current and future housing and shopping development is happening west of Highway 99 and the three-plus miles between the Elk Grove Boulevard and Grant Line Road/Kammerer Road - Highway 99 interchanges. 


The long-awaited Highway 99-Whitelock Parkway interchange is the long-term plan to address the growing traffic in the area, which will be amplified when the Sacramento Zoo is relocated to this growth area. Although planning for the much-needed interchange started over 15 years ago, construction is more than five years away.


According to the CIP (page 147), the cost of that interchange is estimated at $109 million. The largest share of the project funding, $91 million, will come from unidentified future funding sources. 


So, as Elk Grove grows in an area unserved by the much-needed Whitelock Parkway interchange and the overburdened Elk Grove Boulevard interchange, the city will continue to apply bandages to its festering traffic problems. 



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1 comment

Deejay Blutarsky said...

If the City knew 15 years ago that they needed new interchanges and a Connector, why weren't those costs factored into the developer impact fees? Talk about a free ride for the developers. Now our 'leaders' are forced to grovel at the feet of State and Federal politicians, begging for pork. Matsui, Bera, Ashby, and Nguyen please excuse us, we have no shame.

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