South Lake Tahoe, CA – A high-priority bike path project in South Lake Tahoe has received a final funding boost thanks to quick action and coordination by agencies implementing the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program (EIP).
The El Dorado Beach to Ski Run Bike Path is a missing link in South Lake Tahoe’s otherwise continuous bike route network and is listed as the highest priority project in the Lake Tahoe Region Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. The City of South Lake Tahoe (City), Caltrans, and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) worked together earlier this year to re-route supplementary funds from the ongoing U.S. Highway 50 water quality project to the bike path project.
Approximately $2 million was rescued when the bid for the Caltrans U.S. Highway 50 water quality project from Trout Creek to Ski Run Boulevard came in under the engineer’s estimate. This money was going to return to original grant sources outside the Tahoe Basin when the agencies worked together to re-allocate the funding to the El Dorado Beach to Ski Run path.
“Caltrans really came to the table to help us reallocate this funding,” TRPA Transportation Team Leader Nick Haven said. “Everyone recognized the opportunity to construct a critical bicycle link and to keep funding in the Basin. The partnerships we have been developing under the EIP are really paying off.”
City staff had all but completed the design of the bike path, but there was no money for construction. The move will also help free up other funds which can go toward other important projects such as sidewalks along Pioneer Trail and other high priority transportation projects identified in the City’s Capital Improvement Program.
Already a model project, the U.S. Highway 50 project from Trout Creek to Ski Run will include water quality improvements, bike lanes, sidewalks, street lights-and now the segment will include the bike path from El Dorado Beach to Ski Run Boulevard-when completed. Caltrans will continue work on this section of roadway until 2014, and then will initiate similar water quality improvements from Trout Creek to the “Y,” all as part of the Basin-wide effort to reduce vehicle emissions and treat stormwater before it can enter Lake Tahoe.
The Lake Tahoe EIP is a partnership of more than 50 organizations and private property owners dedicated to restoring Lake Tahoe’s fragile environment. Managed by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the EIP has invested more than $1.5 billion since 1997 in projects from residential BMPs to river restoration. The TRPA cooperatively leads the effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region now and in the future.