Road delays to lift next week |

Road delays to lift next week

by Merry Thomas, Bonanza Staff Writer

The road construction along the lake’s east shore, which has closed a lane of traffic and made beach access more difficult, is just one part of an ongoing effort to control erosion, said Scott Magruder, public information officer for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Commuters will get a break next week when NDOT crews in Northern Nevada stop working because of Hot August Nights. It has become a policy for the department, Magruder said. In earlier years, people driving their older model cars up Mount Rose would get into trouble during road work delays, he said. The older cars would often overheat in those conditions.

“It wasn’t worth the bad PR,” he said.

Work will resume Sunday, Aug. 11.

“We try to keep the delays to a half-hour maximum,” Magruder said. “Sometimes it’s only 15 minutes.” The short season for outdoor work — mid-May through mid-October — puts pressure on crews to work ’round the clock, he said.

“We could cut back on hours (to alleviate driver frustration),” he said. Yet, the prospect of taking only one summer for the project rather than two is appealing, as well.

NDOT contracted Q & D Construction for the $8.3 million project that will be entirely finished by mid-October, according to Magruder. The slope-erosion-prevention undertaking includes building trails to the shore, which should deter people from simply running down the slopes, adding to the possibility of debris falling into the lake, he said. Drop runoffs also are being constructed to help catch roadway contaminants such as oils and salt.

NDOT works alongside the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the U.S. Forest Service and Congress to plan and implement these projects, Magruder said. They have spent $40 million on erosion control elements in addition to a visitor center and a parking area on State Route 28 and Highway 50 since the late 1990s.

“We’ve made a lot of progress,” he said.

This summer’s projects are centered around the Carson City/Washoe County boundary on State Route 28 and another NDOT project runs along Highway 50, near the Douglas County/Carson County line. NDOT crews are working on a $2.6 million retainer wall in Douglas County, and recently completed one near Zephyr Cove, Magruder said.

“We can expect ongoing efforts in controlling erosion during the next 10 years,” he said. But when this year’s project is finished in October, it will be the last of them for a while, Magruder said.

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