South Lake Tahoe Loop Road options narrowing
March 22, 2013
Which options will be considered for a possible rerouting of U.S. Highway 50 behind Heavenly Village and the Stateline casinos could be decided as soon as next month.
At a Special South Lake Tahoe City Council meeting Tuesday night, consultants for Tahoe Transportation District said they will recommend the triangle alternative, a one-way triangle alternative and what is known as Alternative 2 be considered for the controversial Loop Road project proposal.
The TTD's board is expected to vote on which options will be included in the project's environmental document at its April 12 meeting.
Alternative 2 would divert Highway 50 at its intersection with Pioneer Trail. The new highway would cut south through the existing neighborhood before following the route taken by Lake Parkway today. The route through the casinos would be narrowed and landscaped under the proposal.
The triangle alternative would be similar, but would move the intersection to the southwest, to city-owned vacant lots behind the 7-Eleven and where the National 9 Inn exists today.
The one-way triangle alternative would follow a similar alignment, but would turn Lake Tahoe Boulevard through the casinos into a one-way road heading eastbound. The Loop Road section going behind the casinos and Heavenly Village would be turned into the westbound highway.
Caltrans and the Nevada Department of Transportation have expressed concerns with the split highway option, but the alternative would decrease the project's footprint and deserves further consideration, said Mark Rayback, a consultant with Wood Rodgers, at Tuesday's meeting.
The triangle alternative is expected to be the TTD's preferred option.
Between 50 and 90 residences, and between four and eight commercial properties, would need to be removed for the Loop Road project to move forward, depending on the alternative selected, according to Rayback. The numbers are only rough estimates because detailed maps of the each proposal still need to be completed, Rayback said.
City Council members continued to express concerns about Alternative 2 at Tuesday's meeting. In a vote, the city recommended the TTD develop another option to present to the agency's board other than Alternative 2.
Following the selection the alternatives to be studied, completion of the environmental documentation process is expected to take several months.
The project has been under consideration for years. Proponents expect the Loop Road to be the cornerstone of an effort to turn the stateline area into a more pedestrian and bike-friendly area that will spur economic growth. Opponents of the project contend the loss of businesses on the California side of the stateline is too great a cost to proceed with the concept.