Highway-50 rumor mill runs amuck | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Highway-50 rumor mill runs amuck

Sally J. Taylor

There is no truth to the rumor U.S. Highway 50 will be closed for road repairs for weeks this summer, according to a California Department of Transportation spokesperson.

“Obviously, there’s a communication problem,” said Pat Miller, public affairs officer for Caltrans. Miller was bombarded by phone calls Thursday afternoon from media and businesses who had heard that South Shore’s lifeline would be completely closed for as long as three months.

The rumors apparently were triggered by a Sacramento television news crew that stopped Thursday at businesses along the highway to ask how road repairs would affect them.

An 18-mile stretch of the highway between Riverton and Strawberry was heavily damaged from winter floods. Continued repairs from July 15 into autumn will involve some traffic controls. But how much and when has not been determined.

“We’re still in the formulative stage of determining how much work we need to do this year,” Miller said. “We’ll do whatever we can to work with the community to find the best way (to minimize the impact on businesses that depend on Highway 50).”

Repairs include installing or enlarging culverts, repairing dikes and guardrails, installing drainage pipes and erosion prevention. Because paving will also be needed, repairs must be made before the weather turns cold, which prevents the asphalt from setting properly. Paving done following the storm damage was for the “emergency opening” of the highway and not considered permanent.

Road controls will be required and could include one-way traffic, detours, short closures or some combination.

Travelers on the highway can expect some form of inconvenience.

That, said a station spokesperson, is what a KCRA news crew was talking about.

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