El Dorado County – Beginning tomorrow, May 11, Caltrans will temporarily close U.S. Highway 50 at Echo Summit for approximately two weeks, depending on weather, beginning to replace the aging rock wall barrier. 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 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 U.S. Highway 50 safer for the public,” said Caltrans Director Cindy McKim. Alternate routes around the closure take travelers through the scenic gold country of El Dorado and Amador counties. Motorists should allow approximately one hour extra travel time during the two week full closure to reach South Lake Tahoe. The alternate routes available from U.S. Highway 50 are:
From Sacramento: Exit at Power Inn Road and take State Route 16 east to State Route 49 south, at State Route 88 in Jackson, turn left (east). Take that to State Route 89 and turn left again (north), and follow it back to U.S. Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe.
From Placerville: Exit at Missouri Flat Road and take State Route 49 south. Follow it to State Route 88 in Jackson and turn left (east), At State Route 89 turn left (north) and follow it back to U.S. Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe. Motorists coming through the Stockton area can exit State Route 99 as usual at State Route 88 east, continuing onto State Route 88/49. In Jackson, turn left to continue on State Route 88 east. At State Route 89 turn left (north) and follow it to U.S. Highway 50
in South Lake Tahoe. Caltrans has placed electronic message signs at key positions on all of these highways to direct travelers. During the temporary full closure, U.S. Highway 50 will be open for visitors to Placerville and other locations as far east as Audrain Way, just before Echo Summit.
“The alternate route through El Dorado and Amador Counties is a good way to go any time there are closures or substantial delays on U.S. Highway 50 due to weather, collisions or construction,” said Caltrans District 3 Director Jody Jones. Caltrans has a website (www.Way2Tahoe.com) featuring a map, up-to-date information about the project, information about the alternate routes and sites to visit along the way, 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 also track the project’s progress via Twitter (@Way2Tahoe) and on Facebook.
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/.