City of South Lake Tahoe releases summer road rehab plan

Claire Cudahy
Pothole patching is expected to begin soon in the City of South Lake Tahoe.
Claire Cudahy / Tahoe Daily Tribune

After the adverse weather forecast for this weekend, road repairs from the damaging winter storms should be underway.

At the April 4 South Lake Tahoe City Council meeting, council approved $300,000 from the general fund to be used to patch approximately 200 potholes on city roads.

According to a report by the public works department, although staff has been active in temporarily patching many of the potholes and fissures, “the magnitude of the impacts of this winter” requires outside help.

Sierra Nevada Construction (SNC) will be responsible for the patching.

At the same time, Assistant Director of Public Works Jim Marino announced the roads and bike paths that are slated for rehabilitation this summer. The $1.6-million contract was awarded to SNC last September, and uses $1.5 million in city general funds and $146,146 in Measure S funds.

The following stretches of roadway are slated for repair: One lane of Lake Tahoe Boulevard from Glorene Avenue to Viking Way, Glenwood Avenue from Woodland Road to North Rancho, Fairway/Glenwood Avenue from Johnson Boulevard to Cloverdale Avenue, South Avenue from Fourth Street to Melba Drive, Eloise Avenue from Cul de Sac to Dunlap Drive, Primrose/Chonokis Road from Glenn Road to Montreal Avenue, Tahoe Island Drive from Third Street to Peter Avenue, and Aloha Drive from Venice Drive to Cul de Sac.

Public works staff is also looking into additional grants that would fund improvement to drainage features.

“As far as bike trail work that we’re doing, we’re going to pulverize and replace the bike trail from the edge of Lakeview Commons all the way to the Alta Mira site, which is now a [California Tahoe] Conservancy property,” said Marino.

“The campground class-one bike path we are going to go in and do all the patch work, crack fill and slurry seal it to give it some more life. Same with the 15th Street bike trail which goes from 15th Street all the way to the bridge on the U.S. Forest Service property.”

A small stretch from Trout Creek to Edgewood Circle will also be rehabilitated.

In his presentation to council, Marino brought up the subject of finding a dedicated funding source for road rehabilitation — something that hasn’t been in place since the city was incorporated over 50 years ago.

“I think the damage that we have seen this winter would have been less had we been methodically maintaining the roads over the last 20 years. A restricted and dedicated funding source would allow us not only to have rehabilitations every summer, but enter into a pre-winter sort of programming list where we go and fix areas [that] we think might fall apart during the winter months,” he explained.

Marino pointed out that this funding would help the public works department coordinate with utility companies as they prepare for major work in South Lake Tahoe over the next 20 years.

[South Tahoe Public Utility District] has the need to replaces 130,000 linear feet of water main in our roadways in the next 15 to 20 years. That’s 24 miles of pipe work. We need to coordinate and leverage the funds moving forward to make sure that once these utilities are done with their work, we pave and we’re done,” said Marino.

Similarly, Southwest Gas has a 15-year plan to replace gas mains that will affect every single street in South Lake Tahoe.

“You have a convinced audience that everything you’re talking about for annual funding, for all the reasons you talked about, would be a good idea,” said Mayor Austin Sass.

But, said Sass, getting the $3 million that would be needed for an annual road rehabilitation program would require cutting something from the budget of that size or creating a new revenue source.

In November’s election, a ½-percent sales tax increase was on the ballot for South Lake Tahoe residents with the option to put money toward roads, housing or facilities. Increasing the tax from 8 to 8.5 percent would raise an estimated $2.5 million annually.

Though the increase did not pass, the results from the three advisory votes provided some insight on where a majority of voters would like to see money spent in the community — roads.

Discussions are underway on whether or not another tax measure for roads should be put on the ballot this November.

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