City Council receives roads update; passes resolution for Washoe Tribe land acknowledgement

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The South Lake Tahoe City Council heard multiple presentations during its regular Tuesday evening meeting, including an update on roadwork and an annual report from the department of public works.

An update on roadwork and the overall annual report from the public works department was presented by Capital Improvements Program and Facilities Manager Jim Marino who discussed the state of the road network.

Annually, $2.5 million is budgeted for road rehabilitation, according to the presentation provided by Marino. The current available funds for public works is $5.992 million minus $2 million which is already slated for current projects in the roadway rehab project.

The remaining, almost $4 million dollars will go towards the work to come.

Marino said plans are set to strategically repair the city’s road network based on prioritization specifications which were outlined for the council. At the top of the list are budgetary allowances for maintenance. 

The city said in a statement in early April that pothole repair with an estimated 100,000 pounds of cold mix asphalt took place throughout the city, including along Ski Run Boulevard, Needle Peak Road, and 3rd Street. “The city plans to award additional contracts in August to repair Lakeshore Boulevard, Stateline Boulevard, Pine Boulevard, and 10th Street and to repave Ski Run Boulevard, Tata Lane, Dedi Avenue, Margaret Avenue, Julie Lane, B Street, D Street, F Street, Delta Street, Bonanza Avenue, Barton Avenue, 2nd Street, Helen Avenue, Silver Tip Avenue, and parts of Winnemucca Avenue.”

These road maintenance and repaving projects are scheduled to be complete by October 15, according to the city’s statement.

“The Town of Truckee has the best roads in the region. This is largely due to multiple sales taxes and parcel taxes that are allocated to road and trail maintenance and repair,” according to Marino’s presentation.

“Many items are taken into consideration, but in general, arterial and collector roads/high volume roads, are prioritized upgrades over lower volume local roads,” Marino said, and added that the status of the roads as well as future plans for utility projects are taken into account when prioritizing roads.

The city roads were recently analyzed by Data Transfer Solutions LLC, an asset management, transportation planning, and GIS company. DTS drove the intricate and tight knit networks of South Lake Tahoe roads and found that 61.2% of the roads currently exist in a poor and very poor/serious state, according to Marino’s report. 

Unfortunately, that leaves some roads in residential areas in disrepair.

Despite over half the roadways being in need of major maintenance, “We have seen no, or very limited, impacts on recently paved roadways,” Marino said and added the protocols in place ensure crews follow “strict specifications for pavement type and application with best industry practices,” which lead the city’s “worst first” strategy.

Mayor Pro Tem Cody Bass said roadwork is “cyclical, like painting the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Public comment from community member Ed Mosur spoke to the cyclical processes and added to Bass’ comment just like painting the iconic San Francisco bridge “once you get done you have to start all over again.”

Recognition and praise followed both public works presentations for the department as a whole and for the new director’s efforts.

Mayor Pro Tem Cody Bass noted that Nejad’s efforts to keep the city open and moving with snow removal as well as road repair, and sometimes prioritizing both in the same week, has been nothing short of “miraculous.” Bass added that there has been a notable difference in public works since Nejad joined the city in 2021. 

Council member John Friedrich echoed Bass’ sentiments after Nejad presented the annual report which covered everything the director of public works has accomplished through his first full year with the city. 

In other news, Herman Fillmore, the Culture/Language Resources Director for the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California made a presentation to the council prior to gaining approval for a land acknowledgement.

Fillmore said, “the acknowledgement is only the first step toward meaningful engagement and collaboration with the Washoe Tribe,” and added he hopes to see action follow the passing of the council’s motion. 

After a unanimous vote to pass the resolution accepting said land acknowledgement, the council and spectators erupted in applause for the second time during the meeting, the other having been for a winter well managed by Nejad. At the next meeting on June 6, council is expected to hear a second reading of the electric vehicle charging ordinance and a presentation about the Tourist Core Area Plan and possible amendments.

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