Closing Highway 50 just a rumor |

Closing Highway 50 just a rumor

by Sally J. Taylor

California transportation officials are now reminding motorists about the scenic-route west following several days when a resurfacing project on U.S. Highway 50 left cars stuck in traffic delays of more than an hour.

“We’re trying to figure out a way to minimize the inconvenience to motorists,” said California Department of Transportation spokeswoman Pat Miller.

When delays start to go up to an hour or more, the highway advisory radio broadcast at AM-1610 will advise westbound motorists that they can avoid the long delays by using the scenic-route over state routes 89 and 88 to Iron Mountain Road.

“It will not be mandatory,” Miller said.

She said that Caltrans is not considering closing the road entirely as some rumors have suggested.

The alternate route is not completely scenic, however. State Route 88 has its own roadwork with 20-minute delays. That project will probably last through the end of this week.

The longer scenic route, even with the potential of 20-minute delays, “is probably preferable to sitting and waiting on Highway 50,” Miller said. “We’ll give them a choice.”

As requested by the South Shore business community, no construction work on Highway 50 is being done during weekend traffic from noon Friday to midnight Sunday.

The $14 million project to resurface the highway from Riverton to South Lake Tahoe is expected to be completed in November.

Following Labor Day, the traffic volume is expected to decrease and the traffic delays should be shorter, Miller said.

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