Progress made on Kingsbury Grade
STATELINE – Major rock and earth excavation will continue through the weekend on Highway 207 at Kingsbury Grade as Sparks-based A&K Movers have been awarded an emergency $100,000 contract to remove slabs of rock which may collapse onto the roadway.
Kingsbury Grade will remain closed through the weekend. Nevada Department of Transportation officials say the 11-mile stretch of road – which connects the Carson Valley to Lake Tahoe and has about 5,500 vehicles travel on it each day – could open sometime next week.
“They are working 14 to 16 hours a day to get it excavated to the point where we feel it will be safe,” said NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder. “We will know more by Monday but it looks promising (that the road will be open) next week.”
The road was closed Wednesday morning when an NDOT survey team determined a section of rock had moved, causing instability along a major slope next to the road. The area is uphill from the roadway, approximately 4 miles east of the Kingsbury summit, and 7 miles west of Highway 206. No homes are threatened.
“We realize this closure is an inconvenience to commuters and motorists, but we do not want to compromise safety,” NDOT Director Jeff Fontaine said in a news release.
The department expects to have an estimated time for re-opening after it hires an emergency contractor.
“Basically, we are trying to avert a potentially dangerous situation,” Magruder said.
With traffic from the Valley floor cut off, it means motorists will have to use Highway 50 over Spooner Summit or Highway 89 over Luther Pass as alternative routes. Motorists should allow an extra 30 minutes to arrive at their destination, NDOT advises.
A large portion of Tahoe’s casino workforce lives in Carson Valley and commutes via Kingsbury Grade. While the timing of the road closure is troublesome as Tahoe enters its busiest time of the year, the inconvenience to employees and employers remains a concern.
“There is never a good time for this to happen,” said Kathy Farrell, executive director of the Tahoe Douglas Chamber of Commerce. “Fortunately it is not the major artery, but it is critical because of our workforce.”
With four lanes of traffic on Spooner, the highway should be able to handle the additional congestion. Spooner Summit has about 15,000 motorists on it each day. No major problems were reported at on the highway on Thursday.