Paving starts on Harrison; road reopens soon |

Paving starts on Harrison; road reopens soon

Tom Lotshaw
A worker with Sierra Nevada Construction tamps down the ground to prepare for paving on Harrison Avenue that will be done today and tomorrow. The road should be reopened soon, as construction activities shift to Riverside Avenue.
Tom Lotshaw / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

After almost 45 days of dirt and detours and noise and orange construction barrels, Harrison is planned to be paved and reopened in less than two weeks.

Sierra Nevada Construction crews working on the $6 million South Lake Tahoe project are starting to pave six blocks of Harrison Avenue, Modesto Avenue and the new public parking lot at their intersection.

If that paving goes as planned today and tomorrow, next Monday crews will stripe the pavement and install pavers for new pedestrian walkways.

“Then after next week, Harrison should be pretty much open for business,” said Mitch Grayson, project manager for Sierra Nevada Construction. “People will see landscapers in planting and that kind of stuff, a little activity here and there, but by the end of next week it should be substantially complete so businesses have it back for the Fourth of July.”

For the first time since May, businesses along Harrison will have unimpeded access to their storefronts, just in time for the busy summer holiday. That’s not to say the project to rebuild the Harrison Avenue corridor is over. Far from it, and drivers, pedestrians, business owners and nearby residents can expect to see detours and other construction hassles in the area through at least August.

With the work on Harrison Avenue coming to an end, and Harrison reopening as a one-way street headed south, crews are turning their focus to neighboring Riverside Avenue. Riverside will be pulverized and compacted along with Modesto, San Francisco, Tallac, Alameda and San Jose avenues between Riverside and Harrison.

Crews will dig a deep trench along Riverside to install a large stormwater drainage pipe, impacting traffic on that road in the weeks to come.

In addition to better streetlights, landscaping and pedestrian facilities, drainage improvements are a major part of the project to end the area’s extensive puddling after rains and help South Lake Tahoe meet pollutant load reduction targets set out in its stormwater permit.

“They’re going to do the same thing on Riverside, pulverize that, get the bike trail in, the curb and gutter. Big drainage pipes go down that road so there’s going to be a lot of excavation,” said Jim Marino, assistant director of public works for South Lake Tahoe. “They’ll get that squared away then work on the side streets as they come up, working south to north.”

This second phase of the project is scheduled to be substantially completed by mid-August, at which point Sierra Nevada Construction will start rebuilding the boat launch and parking areas near Lakeview Commons at the northern end of the work zone.

So far, the extensive road project is going well, Marino said.

“Lots of business owners we talk to are happy. We can start to sense a little frustration with the summer season approaching. A month in, people are getting a little frazzled. But most of the complaints I’m getting are about people who are visiting the area and parking in peoples’ driveways,” Marino said.

“Don’t park in private driveways and don’t block driveways. That’s really the majority of the complaints I’m getting.”

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