Tahoe City’s famed Fanny Bridge due for a makeover
TAHOE CITY, Calif. – While Fanny Bridge abounds in historical value, its functionality is being called into question as transportation officials say it is rapidly deteriorating into a state of disrepair.
The bridge was constructed in 1920 and spans the Truckee River, Lake Tahoe’s sole outlet, near the at-times very congested pedestrian intersection at the Wye intersection in Tahoe City.
Alfred Knotts, principal planner for the Tahoe Transportation District, said the bridge contains “significant structural deficiencies and is generally antiquated.”
Furthermore, traffic jams there – particularly during peak vacation times, such as July, August, December and January – cause delays in business deliveries, inconvenience residents and prolong public transit services, Knotts said, and emissions from idling vehicles can compromise both air and water quality in the area.
Thus, transportation officials are moving forward on a project that would rehabilitate Fanny Bridge, while simultaneously addressing traffic congestion.
Preliminary plans from TTD, which has taken over project management from Placer County, feature four alternatives.
Initially, the preferred option calls for construction of a four-lane bridge to span the Truckee River farther west from the current Fanny Bridge location. The bridge would be part of a new road that would serve as the main ingress/egress route connecting highways 89 and 28. Roundabouts also would be installed at each intersection.
Meanwhile, Fanny Bridge’s structural deficiencies will be addressed, and the remaining stretch of Highway 89 from the Wye to the intersection of the newly built road will be transformed into a local neighborhood street, with a variety of traffic calming features designed to dissuade motorists from using the path as a primary means of travel, Knotts said.
“This will improve emergency access by giving vehicles two points of access over the river and facilitate a more consistent routing of traffic out of the West Shore,” said Mark Rayback, principal of Wood Rogers, a transportation firm contracted to work on project design.
The other three alternatives include changing the existing Highway 89 just south of Fanny Bridge into a pedestrian/bike trail; installing a cul-de-sac at the end of that street; or conducting the project without roundabouts, respectively.
Knotts and Rayback said the installation of updated erosion control measures designed to stem the flow of particles into the lake is an important component of the project.
While the project is still in its infancy, planning level cost estimates call for a $13-18 million investment. The project is slated to continue to solicit community input and feedback throughout 2011 and develop a final design by 2012. Construction is tentatively scheduled to commence in 2014.
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