Agencies bracing for busy Super Bowl weekend at Lake Tahoe |

Agencies bracing for busy Super Bowl weekend at Lake Tahoe

Staff Report

With the Super Bowl on tap this weekend, officials are expecting a surge of visitors coming to Lake Tahoe.

With the snowpack expanding due to stormy weather over the past couple of weeks, Caltrans and CHP expect heavy traffic and major travel delays in the Sierra.

“The fresh powder and anticipated warmer temperatures, coupled with Super Bowl festivities this weekend are expected to draw many to ski resorts and casinos in the region,” said a Caltrans press release. “Motorists traveling on Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 50 from the valley or Bay Area regions should expect significant traffic and travel delays on major and secondary highways in the region.”

Ski resorts parking lots are expected to fill quickly given the lower capacity requirements during the pandemic. The agency says motorists should be prepared to be turned around when lots reach capacity and not block highways and local roads.

The California Highway Patrol South Lake Tahoe office is encouraging people to stay close to home and limit nonessential travel and to gather outside with no more than three other households, per public health recommendations. And they warn that if travel is in the plans, to stay sober, avoid distractions and buckle up.

CHP and other local law enforcement agencies will be on high alert for anyone driving under the influence.

“The Super Bowl is one of the most celebrated sporting events of the year, and I am encouraging Californians to celebrate responsibly,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said in a press release. “If you choose to drink, do not get behind the wheel. Designate a sober driver.”

Alcohol is not the only substance that can lead to an arrest for driving under the influence. Cannabis, prescription medications and illegal drugs can all impair the ability to drive.

According to preliminary data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, four people died in alcohol-involved collisions last year on Super Bowl Sunday and 120 people were injured. In addition, the CHP made more than 300 DUI arrests that day.

CHP said the public can help keep roads safe by calling 9-1-1 if they suspect an impaired driver. Callers should be prepared to give the vehicle’s description, location, license plate number and direction of travel.

“A safe Sunday is CHP’s goal,” said the release.

The agencies would also like to remind travelers to recreate responsibly, including sledding in legal areas.

Snow play is not permitted at rest areas or alongside highways, on-ramps or off-ramps for the safety of the public and other drivers.

Motorists have been parking anywhere and everywhere in and around the basin to play in the snow. CHP has been writing hundreds of citations for illegally parked cars.

Drivers parked alongside highways and in non-designated areas for snow play create hazardous driving conditions for other motorists and prevent big rigs from using rest areas for federally-mandated stops. It also causes major traffic delays. CHP says vehicles found parked illegally will be cited or towed.

Check out Caltrans’ “QuickMap” for current road conditions and traffic flow levels at Motorists also can call the California Highway Information Network automated phone service at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).

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