Caltrans to staff 50 additional temp workers to ensure proper Tahoe/Truckee snow removal
Tahoe Daily Tribune
TAHOE CITY, Calif. – As many as 50 state workers will be hired on a temporary basis this winter to ensure prompt snow removal takes place on major roadways leading to and from the Truckee/Tahoe region.
Steve Teshara, chair of the Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association Board of Directors, announced at Thursday’s board meeting that Caltrans will gather additional workers from the Sacramento Valley and, if needed, as far as the Bay Area. Those workers will be used in addition to the 550 full-time and temporary employees earmarked for this winter’s snow removal.
Teshara said TMA welcomes the increase, considering state budget cuts earlier this year nearly limited snow removal to a $1.9 million budget, opposed to the traditional $4 million.
“We’re pleased that Caltrans was prompt to respond to the snow removal,” said Teshara, adding that TMA would issue a thank you letter to Caltrans for its rapid response.
Scott Kirkpatrick, Caltrans deputy district director of maintenance and traffic operations, said Caltrans will do whatever it takes not only to keep I-80 open, but also ensure US Route 50 and other secondary roads such as state routes 89, 267 and 28 will be kept clear, hence the decision to hire additional temporary workers.
“The department is committed to keep those roads open,” Kirkpatrick said, “Safety and mobility is our top priority.”
To do this, Kirkpatrick said he had to reassess his budgets and how his staff would be used. Currently, Kirkpatrick said his staff totals 400 full-time employees and 150 temporary employees.
“It’s a very difficult time the state is going through, but this is a priority,” said Kirkpatrick, referring especially to Tahoe’s interstate commerce, ski resorts and local businesses that are directly affected by road closures.
With snow predicted by the National Weather Service to fall as early as Saturday and continue into next week, Kirkpatrick said he is optimistic.
“We’ve got a great team of snow fighters,” he said. “We’re monitoring the weather closely and gearing up for it.”
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