Kingsbury Grade closed |

Kingsbury Grade closed

Nevada Department of Transportation employee Ed Shope informs motorists that Kingsbury Grade is closed because of the potential for a rock slide.
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune

STATELINE – Kingsbury Grade between Kingsbury Summit and the Carson Valley floor was closed Wednesday and could remain closed several days because of the potential for a rock slide, according to Nevada Department of Transportation.

The road was closed Wednesday morning when an NDOT survey determined a section of rock had moved, causing instability along a major slope next to the road. More than 5,500 vehicles travel the 11-mile stretch of road daily.

Officials had not determined how long the closure would last, but NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder said the goal was to have the road open by the Fourth of July weekend.

NDOT is in the process of hiring a contractor to clear the danger area.

The area is uphill from the roadway, approximately 4 miles east of the Kingsbury summit, and 7 miles west of Highway 206. No homes are threatened.

“We realize this closure is an inconvenience to commuters and motorists, but we do not want to compromise safety,” NDOT Director Jeff Fontaine said in a news release.

The department expects to have an estimated time for re-opening after it hires an emergency contractor.

“Basically, we are trying to avert a potentially dangerous situation,” Magruder said.

With traffic from the Valley floor cut off, it means motorists will have to use Highway 50 over Spooner Summit or Highway 89 over Luther Pass as alternative routes. Motorists should allow an extra 30 minutes to arrive at their destination, NDOT advises.

A large portion of Tahoe’s casino workforce lives in Carson Valley and commutes via Kingsbury Grade. While the timing of the road closure is troublesome as Tahoe enters its busiest time of the year, the inconvenience to employees and employers remains a concern.

“There is never a good time for this to happen,” said Kathy Farrell, executive director of the Tahoe Douglas Chamber of Commerce. “Fortunately it is not the major artery, but it is critical because of our workforce.”

With four lanes of traffic on Highway 50, the highway should be able to handle the additional congestion, Magruder said. Spooner Summit has about 15,000 motorists on it each day.

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