An aggressive construction schedule has work on the Harrison Avenue project starting this week and next and quickly ramping up with Sierra Nevada Construction crews fully mobilized by the first week of May.
“There will be significant traffic impacts and we know that,” Assistant Public Works Director Jim Marino told the South Lake City County Council Tuesday. His remarks came during a presentation on this year’s construction projects in the city.
The $5 million remake of Harrison Avenue is one of 13 construction projects getting underway. It’s also the focus of a public meeting on April 24, when city officials and Sierra Nevada Construction will fully outline their construction plans.
“It’s a public meeting for all business and property owners in a 300 foot radius to go over the schedules and the impacts. We’re trying to hold a few of those, to be proactive with the community, since the impacts will be large,” Marino said.
The aggressive schedule calls for completion of the Harrison Avenue corridor and a new Modesto Avenue parking lot by June 13. Crews will cut down trees for the Modesto Avenue parking lot starting next week.
The schedule will involve rolling closures along Harrison Avenue. Things will feel “quite claustrophobic at times with all the work going on,” Marino said.
“Harrison Avenue will be completely torn out end to end, so traffic on open areas will literally be driving on compacted dirt for a few weeks. (Tahoe Regional Planning Agency) was gracious enough to let us do that, which is a pretty monumental thing.”
Sierra Nevada Construction will leave side streets between Harrison and Riverside avenues intact, though it will turn those streets into one-ways as the project calls for. It also will stripe them for additional on-street parking. That way, any parking lost on Harrison should be recouped on the side streets, Marino said.
Another phase of the construction will redo Riverside and the side streets, with all of that work proposed to be completed between May 1 and Aug. 9. “If everything goes to plan, knock on wood, we should be out of the Harrison business corridor and substantially complete by mid-August,” Marino said.
On Sept. 1, crews will start work on two parking lots near Lakeview Commons as well as a new Champions Plaza envisioned for the area to recognize local athletes.
A dozen other projects will greet motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians this spring and summer in South Lake Tahoe.
Some will not affect traffic much, if at all. The city plans to resurface the ramp at the municipal airport and continue work on a $10 million Bijou erosion control project entering its second year of construction.
Caltrans has two projects in the city this year and seven others in the Lake Tahoe Basin. One project improves U.S. 50 from the “Y” intersection to the airport, building on work done last year. “That will be one of the most constrictive parts of the city routes this year,” Marino said.
The other Caltrans project, expected to take two years to complete, focuses on Highway 89 from the “Y” intersection to Cascade Lake.
Lukins Brothers Water Company is replacing undersized water lines along James Street, the shoulder of Highway 89 and West Way, expected to have minimal impacts on traffic in those areas.
South Tahoe Public Utility District is installing about 450 water meters in neighborhoods around the “Y” intersection and replacing water main lines to improve flows in the state streets neighborhood and along Tahoe Keys Boulevard.
“Many intersections along Tahoe Keys will be necked down to one lane or closed entirely, where traffic will route around. We’ve worked with the PUD and stressed the importance of keeping that road open as much as possible, but it is one area of concern for sure,” Marino said.
STPUD in late summer will repave Pioneer Trail between Shepherd’s Drive and Larch Avenue. It also plans to replace water mains near Saddle Road, where Southwest Gas plans to replace some of its lines. Those projects will take some time to complete because of the rocky terrain and could involve some blasting, Marino cautioned.
Long-hidden behind construction walls, the Chateau project will soon intrude into traffic on U.S. 50 and Stateline Avenue as work focuses on streetscape improvements.
Other projects not in the city will impact area drivers trying to get around this spring and summer. That includes other Caltrans highway projects, including one along U.S. 50 in Meyers, as well as the Nevada Department of Transportation’s overhaul of Kingsbury Grade.