Police issue advisories ahead of annual New Year’s street party | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Police issue advisories ahead of annual New Year’s street party

Adam Jensen

Law enforcement agencies issued several warnings this week to those who plan to celebrate the start of 2010 on Highway 50 between South Shore casinos on Thursday night.

The unofficial street party attracts tens of thousands of revelers to the casino corridor each New Year’s Eve. South Shore law enforcement agencies arrested about 40 people between New Year’s Eve 2008 and New Year’s Day 2009. About half of those arrests were made in the casino corridor. Most of the arrests made between the casinos were for fighting or alcohol-related offenses.

Like previous years, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will adopt a “non-confrontational” approach to enforcing laws during the celebration, said Sgt. Jim Halsey in a statement released Monday. The Sheriff’s Office is one of eight law enforcement agencies who will be on hand at the street party.

Open containers of alcohol, as well as glass or metal containers of any kind, are prohibited in the casino corridor during the New Year’s Eve celebration, Halsey said. Children and teenagers are also discouraged from attending.

Halsey also issued a warning to motorists who plan to travel through the casino corridor on Thursday night.

“Due to the ordinarily high volume of pedestrians within the Stateline casino core area during the New Years Eve celebration, U.S. Highway 50 may be closed to vehicle traffic through the area if necessary for the general safety of the public,” Halsey said.

“Drivers anticipating traveling through the Stateline casino core area on New Years Eve should allow themselves an additional 30 minutes of travel time. Additionally, due to past poor road conditions caused by weather, anyone traveling in the area should have snow tires on their vehicle or carry tire chains with them,” Halsey added.

When the highway is closed, traffic is rerouted around the casino corridor using upper and lower Lake Parkway.

Last year, law enforcement agencies closed Highway 50 from about 9:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve to 1 a.m. on New Years Day to accommodate the celebration.

The National Weather Service in Reno predicts a low of 26 degrees and a 20 percent chance of snow on Thursday night, but South Lake Tahoe Police Lt. David Stevenson said he doesn’t expect inclement weather to diminish this year’s numbers.

“They’re out they’re partying no matter what,” Stevenson said. “(Weather) usually shortens the duration, but I haven’t had a year where they’re not out there.”

Although estimating the number of people who will attend the annual celebration is difficult, a steady stream of eastbound traffic on Highway 50 though South Lake Tahoe this week hints that this could be a busy year.

“I anticipate it to be very full,” Stevenson said.

Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini estimated 45,000 people filled the casino corridor last year.

Earlier this month, the American Automobile predicted more than 11.3 million Californians would travel 50 miles or more during the 2009 holiday season. The number of travelers is an 11.3 percent increase compared to 2008 and the first increase in holiday travel in the past two years, according to AAA.

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