CHP urges motorists against taking shortcuts during South Lake Tahoe congestion
Following severe traffic congestion in and around Meyers on Sunday, Jan. 31, California Highway Patrol is urging motorists to avoid using back roads and stick to main thoroughfares during winter driving conditions.
In a Tuesday press release, the CHP encouraged motorists to check weather and road conditions prior to travel in the Lake Tahoe region, be aware of snow and ice on the road, make sure they have chains and other safety items and use U.S. Highway 50, Pioneer Trail and State Route 89 as their main routes.
The backup experienced Sunday was due at least in part to people using mapping apps to find alternate ways around traffic congestion that can occur in Meyers when chain controls are in effect over Echo Pass.
“The primary highways are maintained during the winter and are enforced with chain controls for your safety and the safety of others,” according to a Tuesday press release from CHP. “Using GPS to circumvent the main thoroughfares, not only causes congestion in the local neighborhoods, but endangers the public. This is due to the fact the secondary neighborhood roadways are not maintained or plowed routinely for all vehicles to travel on safely.”
During a Tuesday meeting of the South Lake Tahoe City Council, South Shore resident Lisa Scoralle called the 90-minute delay she experienced Sunday while trying to visit a friend in Christmas Valley “completely unacceptable.”
City manager Nancy Kerry said she was among those caught in the backup and said she saw “remarkable and very dangerous things” during the congestion. She urged those concerned about the traffic issues to contact Caltrans, California Highway Patrol and El Dorado County.
“Lastly, the CHP assists Caltrans with maintaining public safety on the main highways for an enjoyable visit to the Lake Tahoe region,” according to the release. “The CHP deploys area patrol units, as well as additional roving patrol units, throughout the region to keep visitors and locals safe. Please help the South Lake Tahoe CHP and local residents by following these simple winter driving tips while visiting to ensure everyone stays safe during their travels.”