Tahoe Roads column: Update on summer construction at Lake Tahoe (opinion)
Editor’s note: Tahoe Roads is a monthly feature providing updates on Caltrans projects and other road-related news.
This edition will provide an update on Caltrans’ three U.S. Highway 50 projects in the Tahoe basin: The “Y” to Trout Creek water-quality improvement project, the viaduct replacement project on Echo Summit and the new three-legged roundabout in Meyers.
Construction crews lost about two weeks of work time due to late-season storms. Now, all projects are in full-swing and trying to make up for lost time.
Summer is peak construction time in Lake Tahoe. Caltrans reminds motorists to always allow for additional travel time to reach your destination and to be sure to enjoy the views carefully from behind the wheel. Don’t let your excitement for getting to the beach keep you from making it there safely — be respectful to work crews on roadways, and to other drivers.
U.S. 50 “Y” to Trout Creek Bridge Project in El Dorado County
The U.S. 50 project from the “Y” to Trout Creek bridge is the last project in the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program, a multi-agency effort to protect and improve Lake Tahoe. Caltrans has constructed more than 20 water-quality improvement projects since 2007 and has invested more than $500 million toward the effort.
Completing this project will be a major milestone, although there will always be maintenance needs on Lake Tahoe highways due to the wear and tear from winter weather.
The project contractor is currently in the third and final phase, making improvements from Silver Dollar Avenue to the Trout Creek Bridge. During this phase crews are building new drainage systems to collect and treat stormwater runoff, as well as rebuilding curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and widening the highway for bike lanes on both sides.
In August and September, crews will resurface the roadway with an expected project completion date in fall 2019.
Motorists can expect day and night work through the month with construction happening Monday through Friday.
Now that it’s peak summer visitor season, the contractor will be off of the road by 10 a.m. on Fridays, instead of noon.
U.S. 50 Echo Summit Sidehill Viaduct
The Echo Summit project contractor originally considered using a platform to work off of the highway, which didn’t turn out to be a feasible option. Crews are currently excavating for the new footing at “abutment 2” using a crane to lift loads from below. After getting both new abutments constructed this season, the new bridge deck will be installed next year.
A full closure of U.S. 50 for up to 14 days is anticipated next spring to allow for the bridge deck work. Completion of this project is scheduled for fall of 2020. Motorists should expect daytime work all month from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Fridays.
U.S. 50 and California Route 89 in Meyers Roundabout
The project at U.S. 50 and California Route 89 in Meyers will turn the existing T-intersection into a three-legged roundabout with a westbound bypass lane.
At this time, the project contractor is working on the north end of the intersection behind temporary concrete barriers. There are multiple phases to the project; once the first phase is complete, traffic will be shifted to the completed area.
When the project shifts to the southern end of the intersection, work will switch to nights and will require one-way reversing traffic control. That is anticipated to start sometime in July.
The project is expected to be completed by fall of this year.
For information about construction projects around the lake, visit http://www.tahoeroads.com.
Be in the Know
In addition to these projects, keep in mind the Nevada Department of Transportation is still working on Nevada Route 28 in the Incline Village area and night work continues in Tahoe City on California Route 89. Be alert around highway construction zones and remember to safely move over for vehicles with flashing amber lights.
View Caltrans’ QuickMap at http://www.quickmap.dot.ca.gov to see real-time construction work zones, maintenance and lane closures, continuously updated by Caltrans and California Highway Patrol. A free mobile download is available in the App Store and on Google Play. Only view the map as a passenger or before driving — never when behind the wheel
Steve Nelson is public information officer for Caltrans District 3, which includes the Lake Tahoe Basin.