TRPA may sue over color scheme |

TRPA may sue over color scheme

Gregory Crofton

Caltrans could be sued by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency for installing guardrail that doesn’t blend well with the lake’s natural environment.

In October, Caltrans installed shiny, acid-etched guardrail instead of rustrail, which is brown in color, along State Route 267, a highway that runs between Kings Beach and Truckee.

“Caltrans is to provide safety to the traveling public and that is what we are accomplishing here,” said Shelly Chernicki, Caltrans public information officer.

John Marshall, lead attorney for the TRPA, will ask the Governing Board when it meets Wednesday at Kings Beach for the authority to file a lawsuit against Caltrans in case it needs that authority.

“That isn’t our preference at all,” said Julie Regan, TRPA communications director. “We really want to work this out with Caltrans. The reason it has to go to the Governing Board in this fashion is because of a timing issue. The agency really hopes to work this out with Caltrans without needing any kind of litigation.”

A permit issued by the TRPA for the guardrail project required Caltrans to use the brown guardrail because it meets TRPA scenic standards. Caltrans instead installed the shinier rail and has appealed the TRPA requirement. The appeal is scheduled to be discussed at the Governing Board meeting in December.

“We really believe Lake Tahoe is a special place and the standards of its highways should be worth as much as other places in America,” Regan said. “Rustrail is used throughout the country because it does blend into the natural environment better than the galvanized silver color.”

Also on Wednesday at Kings Beach, the Governing Board is expected to:

— Hand out Best in the Basin awards. Each year the TRPA honors water quality, commercial and residential projects for excellent design standards.

— Listen to a report from its Legal Committee about a workshop to formalize how the agency issues fines for unauthorized construction, tree removal and digging. The workshop is open to the public. It begins at 8:30 a.m., an hour before the Governing Board meets.

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

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