$12.5M locked down for major Tahoe highway project | TahoeDailyTribune.com

$12.5M locked down for major Tahoe highway project

LAKE TAHOE — Washoe County commissioners approved an agreement Wednesday providing $12.5 million in federal funding to improve a section of highly used roadway on Lake Tahoe’s East Shore.

The funding, which is only about half of what’s needed for the entire project, will be aimed toward “safety advances, expanded transportation options, an enhanced visitor experience, increased economic vitality and improved water quality” on State Route 28 from Incline Village to Hwy 50, according to a press release.

That 11-mile section of road is said to serve the longest stretch of undeveloped shoreline in the Tahoe Basin and provides the only access to that area for more than a million people and 2.6 million vehicles each year.

“This is the single most significant project on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe in decades,” said Marsha Berkbigler, Washoe County commissioner and Tahoe Transportation District board member, in a statement.

The $12.5 million will be allocated through the Federal Lands Access Program, which provides funds to improve transportation facilities supplying access to high-use federal recreation areas.

Lake Tahoe fits that bill since most of the watershed is under federal control, and the national forest here is reported to be the most heavily visited in the country.

Originally, the project developed from numerous safety and environmental concerns about a lack of adequate transportation facilities in the identified region.

Those concerns propelled the Tahoe Transportation District to take the lead in a 12-agency effort and develop a management plan for the busy corridor. The entire cost of the project is about $24 million, with funds coming from a variety of different government agencies and sources.

Features included in the project will be three miles of new off-highway bike path from Lakeshore Drive to Sand Harbor, additional and improved East Shore Express transit stops, a park-n-ride lot near Hwy 50, expanded off-highway parking, emergency pullouts and storm water and guardrail improvements.

Construction is expected to begin with the first mile of the bike path in summer 2015.

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