This past Monday, the Tahoe Transportation District announced that Martin Brothers Construction has been contracted to begin a $30.1 million construction project in Tahoe City, California. It is an extensive project with plans to start and hopefully complete Phase 1 this Fall then continuing Phase 2 and completion of the project through Summer 2017.
Phase 1 Construction Improvements
- Installation of a new two-lane bridge over the Truckee river located West of Tahoe City
- A two-lane Highway 89 realignment through 64-acre National Forest Land
- Construction of new roundabouts located at each end of the new Highway 89 realignment
Phase 2 Construction Improvements
- Construction of a new Fanny Bridge in the same location, replacing the existing which is 88-years old
- Installation of a new roundabout at current “Wye” intersection of Highway 89 and 28, replacing existing traffic lights and traffic flow
- Street enhancements including street lamps, sidewalks, and aesthetic treatments along existing Highway 89 section, which will become a local road and remain open for access to Tahoe City
Other improvements to Tahoe’s north shore, reportedly included in Martin Brothers Construction $30.1 million bid price, are upgrades to the existing 40-year old sewer line from Tahoe City to Truckee, a 2.2 mile addition to the shared-use trail from Dollar Hill to Tahoe Vista, a bridge over Dollar Creek, marked pedestrian crossings at the intersection of Highway 28 and Dollar Drive, and a neighborhood connector at Country Club Drive.
The Tahoe Transportation District and all parties involved in this process aimed to achieve numerous goals through this construction project. One of the intended improvements which took precedence involved gaining multiple access points to Tahoe’s west shore. It has been a long time concern for emergency personnel that with only one crossing over the Truckee river, the current Fanny Bridge, the response times could be delayed and have catastrophic results in the event of serious emergencies.
“When dealing with an emergency, every minute counts to save a life or property. Having more than one means to access and egress an area is much more preferable than a single source, with just the one existing highway crossing for years over the Truckee River on Fanny Bridge, emergency access to the West Shore has long been a Fire District concern.”
-North Tahoe Fire Protection District Chief Mike Schwartz
Along with the improved access, the southerly roundabout where the new Highway 89 will split towards Truckee and “Old” Highway 89 continues onto Tahoe City should relieve the immense traffic congestion that builds at the current “Wye” intersection of Highway 28 and 89. This will significantly decrease air pollutants due to idling vehicles and have an overall long term effect on environmental quality. This construction process is additionally intended to improve environmental quality by reducing sediment runoff into Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Basin through updating storm-water treatment systems.
There are many other boosts to this area of Tahoe City provided by the construction project such as better pedestrian and cyclist safety, a more inviting shopping and dining scene at the “Wye”, improving reliability and connectivity of the public transit system through traffic relief, and finally replacing the aging 88-year old Fanny Bridge. All this will also create and encourage economic development amongst the community through the newly revitalized space.
These overall improvements will be hugely beneficial to all the locals and tourists alike. At a whopping $30.1 million it will be an immense undertaking and barring any unforeseen delays, it should prove to be a relatively quick amends to some longstanding plights of the area.