NDOT to move forward narrowing ‘deadliest stretch’, protests continue
STATELINE, Nev. – Nevada Department of Transportation heard public comment on Monday, again, regarding the Highway 50 Corridor Management Plan which proposes to reduce a stretch of the thoroughfare from Spooner Summit to Stateline.
According to the NDOT website “U.S. 50 along the east shore of Lake Tahoe is a National Scenic Byway which experiences significant demands from a range of travelers including residents, visitors, recreationalists, commuters and regional traffic that combine for nearly 7 million trips annually.”
On average, more than 100 crashes occur every year on the corridor, almost 1/3 of which are documented to have speed as a contributing factor and much of the corridor exceeds statewide average crash rates for similar facilities,” Meg Ragonese, Public Information Officer for NDOT told the Tribune.
According to the recent report of “protests” regarding the temporary stripping “test” by the Record Courier is on one of “the deadliest stretches” of road in Douglas County with the most fatalities on the highway due to intoxicated drivers.
Ragonese told the Tribune it’s more than just the lane reduction, “NDOT’s U.S. 50 Tahoe East Shore Corridor Management Plan develops a range of vehicle, transit and multi-modal strategies to enhance roadway travel and safety and mobility on U.S. 50 between Spooner Summit and the Nevada-California border. Study information is available at dot.nv.gov/US50EastShore. The study is being conducted in coordination with other local, state and federal agencies.”
Kirk and Debbie Ledbetter, longtime Tahoe locals and philanthropists, continuously show up, Debbie said, to represent her employees who travel U.S. 50 year round and feel safety concerns are not being heard.
Despite NDOT’s opening statement of being primarily concerned with safety in all aspects of the project, residents are concerned that the Warrior Road construction and the demonstration concurrently running will create a bottleneck and increase risk.
The Ledbetters weren’t the only residents who expressed similar concerns and feeling unheard.
Dana Tibbitts, a 12 year resident of East Shore said “it’s reckless, deceptive, and incoherent, no self respecting traffic engineer would advocate eliminating two lanes of roadway as a rational way to reduce traffic volume in increase safety. What’s most troubling is the attitude of public officials willing to betray public trust in order to build their vision of our future behind closed doors. The contempt is disturbing.”
Tibbitts also warned of a resident led lawsuit to follow the project’s approval and said “We will win, we have to stand firm. In my opinion this is a Trojan horse, if NDOT and TRPA get away with the hwy 50 project there is no stopping the schemes imposed on our lake communities, whether we like it or not.”
34 year veteran of the Tahoe Douglas Fire District and 62 year resident of Zephyr Heights, Guy Moss said “about ⅓ of those 100 accidents that happen, happen at Zephyr Cove.”
Moss added “I am a bicycle person but they have no business on highway 50 between Glenbrook and Stateline. I’ve been to more than 100 accidents personally,” many of the accidents being fatalities.
NDOT said in a statement to the Tribune they will move forward with “plans to present the temporary striping proposal to the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners prior to any temporary striping changes, and will continue to gather and incorporate input of the state transportation board, the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners, stakeholders and members of the public.”
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