Caltrans highlights upcoming road improvements |

Caltrans highlights upcoming road improvements

Jack Barnwell

A joint Department of Transportation and Southwest Gas public workshop on upcoming Highway 50 construction work saw low attendance Thursday night at South Lake Tahoe’s city council chambers.

Out of a dozen people, only three were residents, councilwoman JoAnn Conner. The rest were Caltrans and Southwest Gas employees.

Caltrans will begin construction on a $57 million road improvement and erosion control project on Highway 50 from the “Y” in South Lake Tahoe to Trout Creek Bridge.

The project includes widening the shoulders to six feet on each side, as well as bus pullouts, curb and gutter reconstruction and upgrading traffic signals at Third Street, Rubicon Trail/O’Malley Drive, and Tahoe Keys and Sierra boulevards. A new signal will be installed at Lodi Avenue, a dedicated right-turn lane at Tahoe Keys Boulevard and a left-turn lane at Sierra Boulevard.

Tarek Tabshouri, the Caltrans engineer presenting, said the project will include both sides of the road.

The overall project is expected to last two seasons, through spring 2017. Construction time during the off peak-season, between May 1 and Memorial Day weekend and from Labor Day to Oct. 15, will occur around the clock from Sunday night to Friday morning, with one traffic lane to remain open.

Peak season, or Memorial day to Labor Day, work will only occur during the night, with all lanes open during non-work window, weekends and holidays.

The construction work will likely impact businesses along the route during peak season construction.

Steve Nelson, Caltrans Tahoe Basin’s outreach coordinator, said communication will be an important part.

“We have plans for door-to-door outreach with businesses,” Nelson said. In addition Caltrans has set up a website,, for the public to monitor road projects around the Lake Tahoe area.

Nelson emphasized the project will protect the lake’s quality and improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

“So many people can’t safely access the bicycle paths because the shoulders are narrow,” Nelson said. “This will help with that safety.”

Connie Hinton, owner of Connie’s Clothesline Thrift Store on Emerald Bay Road, near where the construction will occur, went to have some of her questions answered.

“My questions are pending answers from (Caltrans) higher management,” Hinton said. “But I have some definite concerns.”

Southwest Gas contractors plans to relocate some of its gas lines on Highway 50 from the “Y” in South Lake Tahoe to Al Tahoe Boulevard.

Part of the project near Al Tahoe Boulevard will include removing a section of sidewalk to College Way. Contractors will later replace it with new, American with Disability Act-compliant sidewalks.

The project will be done in advance of a future Caltrans project. Once the final construction permits are secure, Southwest expects to begin in June.

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