Highway 50 work delayed for weeks

Adam Jensen

When lane closures along U.S. Highway 50 through South Lake Tahoe will begin is unknown as Caltrans works through issues with partner agencies on the Ski Run Boulevard to Trout Creek Project.

The second year of construction on the three-year, $40 million project was scheduled to begin in the middle of May, but the bulk of the work has been delayed for more than a month.

The project includes new storm drains, roadway widening, stop lights and sidewalks among its improvements.

Caltrans spokeswoman Mark Dinger said the agency is in the process of resolving drainage issues with El Dorado County, something he hopes will be figured out next week.

Some work, such as sidewalk construction, has begun while the agency works through the issues, Dinger said.

The state roads agency did not submit a stormwater management plan to the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board until last week, according to Bud Amorfini, an engineering geologist with the agency.

The plan could have been submitted and approved prior to the start of the construction season May 1, Amorfini said. The Water Board approved the management plan last week, and, from the water quality agency’s perspective, Caltrans is clear to begin work.

Heavy lifting on the project should begin within the “next couple of weeks,” said Caltrans spokeswoman Deanna Shoopman.

City Councilman Tom Davis said the delays on the project are “inexcusable.”

A light winter made spring prime time for construction and the slow progress on the project will push construction and frustrating road delays, into the busiest months of the year, Davis said. He expected the delay to cause the project to have a greater impact on businesses along the construction route.

“There’s no excuse,” Davis said Friday. “They had all winter to get this together. Somebody dropped the ball.”

Dale Rise, a subcontractor on the project and the co-owner of Aloha Ice Cream and Dessert Spa, expressed similar concerns. Work on the project is expected to run right in front of the ice cream shop and numerous other businesses in the area.

“Our busy season is starting to show up and they haven’t started yet,” Rise said.

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