Plan to squeeze a portion of Lake Tahoe Boulevard |

Plan to squeeze a portion of Lake Tahoe Boulevard

El Dorado County’s department of transportation is in the initial stages of a proposal to shrink Lake Tahoe Boulevard between South Tahoe High School and Sawmill Pond.

The plan would involve tearing up the road and reducing the number of lanes from four to two in an attempt to restore several acres of stream and meadow habitat.

Bob Slater, deputy director of engineering with the county, emphasized the idea is only in the initial stages and the department will hold public workshops to solicit opinions about it.

The road was built with four lanes when there were plans to development several subdivisions in the area decades ago. But the hundreds of homes were never built, Slater said.

The project qualifies for mitigation funds from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, which granted the county $60,000 to start the public feedback process.

More than 70 percent of meadows in the Lake Tahoe Basin have been built upon or altered. These wetlands once acted as natural filters for water flowing into Lake Tahoe, which has been losing clarity for 40 years.

Now, development near streams and meadows is prohibited, and the TRPA hopes to come up with some incentives to help restore those areas, said TRPA spokeswoman Julie Regan.

The agency has set a goal to restore 25 percent of Tahoe’s wetlands. That standard could change with a new regional plan in the making.

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