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Pioneer Trail delays ahead

Jenifer Ragland

To anyone who travels regularly on Pioneer Trail within the city limits – prepare yourself.

A major overlay project is scheduled to begin next week, and South Lake Tahoe officials are warning drivers to expect delays or to take alternate routes.

“I know it will be tough for some people to avoid these well-traveled streets,” said Leo Tate, street supervisor. “However, we’ve posted signs alerting the public to the traffic delays and hope that motorists will be patient.”

The annual overlay, to be completed by the city’s contractor, Vintage Paving, will be at Pioneer from one-quarter mile east of Black Bart Avenue to U.S. Highway 50 near the state line, and from Pioneer Trail to Johnson Boulevard on Al Tahoe Boulevard.

Traffic will be narrowed down to one travel lane and controlled by flaggers and a pilot car from about 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, said Jan Busatto, associate management analyst for the South Lake Tahoe Public Works Department.

She said the project may take up to three weeks to complete, and comes with a total price tag of $388,972 – the bulk of which comes from the city’s general fund.

Although overlay work can be a headache for motorists, it is vital to increase the life of the roads, said Scott Rodgers, city street superintendent.

“When a street started to deteriorate, an overlay is a good treatment,” he said. “If the deterioration goes too far we need to rebuild the street, and that’s where the big dollars come into play. With this work we’re trying to prevent that.”

Pioneer Trail was chosen after engineering department staff evaluated and rated the condition of the city’s 127 miles of road.

Rogers said the city can afford to do projects on about three miles of road per year, giving each street an overlay about every 30 years.

Pioneer is the most-traveled city street with the highest speed limit, Rogers said.

“The road surface is beat up by chains in the wintertime and heavy bus traffic,” he said. “We’re looking at its drivability.”

This week, city crews are preparing for the overlay on Pioneer Trail from Needle Peak Road to Highway 50 with patching, sweeping and shoulder work.

From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. this week, motorists should expect various lane closures and minor traffic delays, Busatto said.


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