Cave Rock barriers to blend with landscape: Color-schemed barriers to cost extra $700,000 |

Cave Rock barriers to blend with landscape: Color-schemed barriers to cost extra $700,000

Gregory Crofton
This TRPA illustration shows that the barriers to be installed by Nevada Department of Transportation at Cave Rock will be matched with the old volcano core using stamped concrete.

Barriers made with stamped concrete to match the color of Cave Rock will be installed this spring along Highway 50 at entrances of both sides of the old volcano core.

The roadside barriers are part of a $2.3 million road improvement project by the Nevada Department of Transportation. It will repave the highway through the Cave Rock tunnels and widen a turn lane that leads from the eastbound land of Highway 50 at Spooner Summit onto Highway 28.

Matching the barriers to the colors of Cave Rock, a tower of granite that straddles Highway 50 between Glenbrook and Zephyr Cove, increased the cost of the project by about $700,000, said Scott Magruder, NDOT spokesman.

Magruder said installing roadside barriers that better blend with the natural environment is being done to meet Tahoe Regional Planning Agency guidelines but also out of respect for the Washoe tribe, which considers Cave Rock a sacred place.

“This project has been in the works for a long time,” Magruder said. “We’ve been working with TRPA. They said they wanted something real nice right there and we agreed. These things take years to design.”

The work will involve removal of some guard rails near the tunnels, but the project is distinct from a project planned by NDOT that calls for a new guardrail and a rumble strip project along Highway 50 between Spooner Summit and Glenbrook.

That safety project, still in the design phase, stirred up controversy at the TRPA in December because of scenic issues regarding the guardrail and noise issues involved with the rumble strips.

“Cave Rock is enormous natural resource or Lake Tahoe and NDOT has put forward a terrific plan that blends the project into the natural landscape,” said Julie Regan, TRPA communications director. “We’re looking forward to continue working with them on solutions that meet everyone’s needs.”

Apart from the barriers, the project calls for improved drainage in the Cave Rock tunnels, particularly in the northbound tunnel where water collects and forms into ice during the winter.

Construction is scheduled to begin in May and completed by June 24. It will likely involve limiting traffic to one tunnel at some point, but most of the work will be done after 8 p.m. to avoid congestion, Magruder said.

– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.