Elk Grove is no longer a sleepy, rural town miles from the busy city. Rather, it’s now a rapidly growing suburb of Sacramento, having about two-and-a-half times more residents today than in 2000. Growing right along with the population has been the number of motor vehicle accidents in the Elk Grove area, including a growth in vehicle collisions on Interstate-5 and State Route 99 as they have had to absorb local commuter traffic in addition to the long-distance traffic they carry as central California’s primary north-south routes. A recent crash involving a big rig and two passenger cars a short distance south of Elk Grove causing traffic backups all the way into Sacramento, and particular problems on Franklin Boulevard, where many commuters to the southern edge of Elk Grove exit from I-5. The crash resulted in a vehicle and grass fire that shut down the freeway for more than an hour.
The area has had to experience the double-whammy of both rapid population (and commuter traffic) growth in the last couple decades along with the presence of two major north-south highways — Interstate-5 on the west side of the city and State Route 99 that passes right through the heart of Elk Grove. Additional increases in surface street traffic for Elk Grove has followed additional southward growth in the Florin area of Sacramento, the southern growth areas of Rancho Cordova, and along Bradshaw Road, all of which have pushed more vehicles onto Grant Line Road and into Elk Grove. This is pushing the urgency of the Capital Southeast Connector project to increase traffic capacity along Grant Line — although some believe that the project itself may also further increase traffic demand by making it easier to develop the area.