Construction season has started in South Lake Tahoe and local bicyclists can look forward to bike tours on a newly created and paved path this summer.
The El Dorado County Department of Transportation began construction May 3 on a section of bike path on Sawmill Road between Echo View Drive and Sawmill Pond.
Echo View Drive resident Mary Rosenfield said she was excited about the path.
"It's good for Tahoe's community and the area, especially for young kids; it is a lot safer if they don't have to share the road," she said.
The path will be 8 feet wide with 2-foot-wide dirt shoulders and will include water quality improvements. The route is scheduled to be open to the public on July 27.
Construction costs are estimated at $842,260 for the 3,589-foot path.
"The path goes along parallel on the south side of Sawmill Road and goes into California Tahoe Conservancy land and also through California State Parks, so mostly through public land," said project manager Donaldo Palaroan, who works as the senior civil engineer for the Department of Transportation.
The second half of the Sawmill Road bike path, from Echo View Drive to U.S. Highway 50, was designed this year and should be built next summer.
Once complete, the bike path will connect with the bridge over the Upper Truckee River and will provide a continuous path from Lake Tahoe Boulevard to Meyers.
"Our goal is to establish a connection for cyclists between the city and the beach of South Lake Tahoe and Meyers without having to sacrifice safety and being on the road with the cars," Palaroan said.
Once all bike sections are done in summer 2014, including the Lake Tahoe Boulevard Enhancement project between South Tahoe High School and Tahoe Mountain Road, a bike ride from South Lake Tahoe to Meyers will be possible without sharing the road with cars.
"As an avid road and mountain biker, I'm excited to see the work starting on the Sawmill bike path," said South Lake Tahoe resident Josh Merkow. "Once finished, it will be a great addition to the bike path infrastructure for the region. It will also be a fun, family-friendly way to enjoy Sawmill Pond and Twin Peaks."