Road work around town causing minor backups |

Road work around town causing minor backups

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Expect delays caused by a construction project on Highway 50 just west of Lake Tahoe Airport to last until June 15.

Traffic will be limited to one-way Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., and from 6 a.m. to noon on Friday, to accommodate a $1.4 million project under contract to Caltrans.

The work involves the installation of drainage pipes under the highway and construction of storm water retaining basins close to the road. The project is funded by the Environmental Improvement Program, a $908 million initiative designed to protect the clarity of Lake Tahoe.

“It’s about a 10-minute delay,” said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Mike Stewart. “I went through it twice … and didn’t get stopped either way, so it’s pretty minimal.”

How well the system collects and treats storm water runoff will determine what infrastructure improvements Caltrans will make along its other roads at Lake Tahoe Basin.

“This is a test area,” said Bruce Roberts, project manager and senior transportation engineer at Caltrans. “It’s a filtering system experiment. We’ll test all the filters and see which one is more effective.”

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The project area includes nearly one mile of Highway 50 between Sawmill Road and Lake Tahoe Airport. The project will also widen the shoulder of the highway where necessary and reconstruct entrances to several businesses and Jewell Road, said Mark Dinger, Caltrans spokesman.

Daytime construction on the highway should be completed by mid-June, before the peak summer traffic. Remaining road work will go on at night with the entire project, including the installation of the storm water retention basin, finished in September. The basins will be landscaped by a crew from the California Conservation Corps.

In other news:

n Caltrans will resume a paving project next week on Highway 50 that involves a special layer of material called Novachip, designed to protect against cold weather conditions. Expect one-way traffic from Riverton to Strawberry, Dinger said.

n Road construction on the lower loop of Lake Parkway that began two weeks ago will be completed June 27. The $1.3 million project will limit traffic to one-way in the daytime except on Fridays when work will shut down by 3 p.m., said Bob Nunes, Douglas County director of community development.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at