EXCLUSIVE: I-80 in East Bay missing painted lanes months after Caltrans completes project

It's now been three months without painted lanes and according to the mayor of Hercules, multiple accidents have happened.

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Tuesday, January 9, 2024
EXCLUSIVE: I-80 missing painted lanes months after project completed
Caltrans finished the I-80 paving project in Hercules three months ago, but several sections of the roadway still don't have any painted lanes.

HERCULES, Calif. (KGO) -- Caltrans finished the I-80 paving project in September, but it's been three months and several sections of Interstate 80 still don't have any painted lanes. Drivers are having to guess when to merge and where to go.

"This is supposed to have two lanes here. So, here's Hercules on-ramp to westbound 80. No lines," said Mayor Dan Romero.

Hercules Mayor Romero described as he drove on the on-ramp to westbound Interstate 80 West in Hercules. As drivers began to merge, they realized the curb had no painted lanes.

"There is supposed to be three lanes and absolutely no lines at all. The lane I'm in is supposed to be for commuters, the morning and the bus," said Mayor Romero.

Mayor Romero showed us the problematic sections of I-80 where we found either no painted lanes, beat up reflectors, or a temporary paint job.

RELATED: Westbound I-80 from Vallejo to Hercules reopens 12 hours early following major repaving project

"A really bad paint job. It doesn't look like a brand new project. That portion of the road looks like its old and it was just done," said Mayor Romero.

From mid-July until September, Caltrans closed interstate 80 on four different weekends to pave the freeway.

"The I-80 freeway around Hercules had a major construction operation last year in 2023 where we replaced a massive section of the freeway with continuously reinforced concrete," said Bart Ney, Caltrans office chief of Public Affairs and Strategic Communications.

Contractors didn't get to one major part of the project - painting the lanes.

Caltrans said a temporary version was done but it didn't last long. It's now been three months and according to the mayor of Hercules, multiple accidents have happened.

Our ABC7 News data team looked into California Highway Patrol reports and preliminary data points to 16 car accidents on Hercules highways since Caltrans finished paving the freeway.

RELATED: 'Ridiculous traffic': Drivers cope with Labor Day weekend East Bay I-80 construction closure

The main factor in those crashes has been improper turning. There is no clear way to know if in fact the lack of paint has led to those accidents, but Mayor Romero is sounding the alarm.

"It's a concern in the morning when the sun is reflecting. You don't see the lines. It's a concern when it rains and it's a concern at night. So, more than half the time the freeway is being used, a lot of resident and drivers cannot see the designated lines," said Mayor Romero.

Caltrans acknowledges the issues and blames their contractor and the weather.

"The contractor did not get out and complete the work that was assigned and we got into sort of the rainy season and when the rainy season hit, then we struggled with keeping the stripping," said Ney.

Caltrans confirmed they are working on getting lanes painted in the coming days.

"The temporary stripping that we placed out there which kind of look like dots didn't hold up on the weather. We didn't get back out in the timeframe we wanted to with the contractor to get more robust stripping in place. So that is what puts us in the position that we are in right now, but we need to get out there immediately," said Ney.

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