South Lake Tahoe, CA…New guardrails are coming to Hwy 50 sometime in May. As soon as there is a clear block of weather in May a project will get underway to replace the 1930’s era rock guardrails on Hwy 50 with taller, safer, modern concrete guardrails. Hwy 50 on Meyers Grade will be completely closed for 10-14 days during the initial phase of construction.
Caltrans representatives were on hand last night at the annual Tourism Forum at the Horizon Casino & Resort to assure local business leaders that they will do everything they can to make the retrofit and closure time as fast and painless as possible.
Once the contractor starts Echo Summit will be closed for a minimum of 10 days with the possibility of a two week closure. There will also be a few weeks after the closure where there are traffic controls on portions of the construction area. The controls in place after the initial construction phase will not be in effect during weekend or holiday time periods.
Extensive efforts are underway to make sure people know about the repairs and make travel plans that include an alternate route. Hwy 88 is the suggested path as it will only add about 30 miles to the trip for those visiting South Lake from the Bay Area.
The new wall construction will be of constructed of concrete with a rock appearing facade. Caltrans officials stated that the existing rock railing was designed when Model T’s were still the dominate vehicles on the road and it is not adequate to provide protection for today’s larger cars and trucks.
WaytoTahoe.com has been set up as a clearing house of information on project information. It has suggested route information, specials and deals from merchants in the South Lake Area and during construction there will be links to webcams so the public can follow along.
Caltrans is aware that this project will cause longer travel times for those visiting the area. On the bright side it should increase revenue for businesses on Hwy 88 and the west shore of Lake Tahoe as tourists take the alternate routes. The construction area will be completely closed to traffic with the only possible exceptions being residents who work in South Lake and must commute and they will need to provide proof.
Caltrans officials stated construction will be timed as to not affect Memorial Day or 4th of July traffic. Officials also discussed additional projects in the area.
We have complete video from last night’s meeting below. The video and photos cover not only the Hwy 50 improvements but the presentation on the Amgen Tour of California as well.
We have video of the entire meeting on video. The evening started off with a presentation by Caltrans on the improvements that will be made to Hwy 50 and is followed by the presentation and question and answer session on the tour and Echos Summit project.
Below is complete meeting video and photos from the meeting.