El Dorado County, CA…Caltrans today announced it will temporarily close U.S. Highway 50 at Echo Summit for up to two weeks between mid-to-late April and early May. The closure is part of the first stage of a safety enhancement project that will remove damaged rock walls and replace them with a barrier that meets current safety standards. The closure dates may be changed, depending on weather conditions in the Sierra. The project is funded in part ($1.9 million) by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).
“This project is a great example of how Caltrans is putting the Recovery Act to good use, providing jobs and at the same time making Highway 50 safer for the public,” said Caltrans Director Cindy McKim.
Caltrans launched a website (www.Way2Tahoe.com) today featuring up-to-date information about the project, alternate routes motorists can use during the temporary full closure, live traffic cameras, and answers to frequently asked questions. There is also an e-mail alert feature, allowing the public to sign up for project updates. Website visitors can track the project’s progress via Twitter (@Way2Tahoe) and on Facebook.
Motorists should allow one hour extra travel time during the temporary full closure to reach South Lake Tahoe. Two alternate routes will be available:
Sacramento: Exit at Power Inn Road and take Highway 16 to Highway 49 to Highway 88 to Highway 89 and back to Highway 50.
Placerville: Exit at Missouri Flat Road and take Highway 49 South to Highway 88 to Highway 89 and back to Highway 50.
Caltrans will place electronic message signs at key positions on all of these highways to direct travelers. During the temporary full closure, Highway 50 will be open for visitors to Placerville and other locations as far east as Sierra at Tahoe Resort.
C.C. Myers, Inc. of Rancho Cordova was awarded the $3 million construction contract for the project.
“The current wall, which was built during the 1930s, has deteriorated and been damaged by several collisions. Caltrans will replace it with a new, reinforced wall that will enhance public safety and preserve the beauty of this scenic section of Highway 50,” said Caltrans District 3 Director Jody Jones.
Just prior to the temporary full closure, and for up to six weeks after Highway 50 is reopened, there will be 24 hour one-way controlled traffic. The highway will be open with no restrictions on Memorial Day weekend, and all traffic interfering work is scheduled to be finished by or before June 27.
California has obligated nearly $2.6 billion in Recovery Act funding to nearly 1,000 highway, local street, and job training transportation projects statewide. For more information on the Recovery Act visit: http://recovery.ca.gov/