267 Bypass construction start expected sometime this summer
Construction is expected to begin this summer on a long-awaited $24 million highway bypass for the Truckee area, alleviating a traffic nightmare every weekend for locals and tourists alike.
The project calls for a 2.8-mile bypass of Highway 267 further east of the Truckee downtown area, said Heidi Sykes, Caltrans project manager.
The project will include a new interchange with Interstate 80 and a viaduct over the Truckee River and the railroad line.
The two-lane project will be advertised to bidders in April, and construction will last three to four years, Sykes said.
“It is a pretty massive project,” said Bob Drake, town councilman.
Highway 267 currently cuts through historic downtown Truckee, and on Sundays, returning traffic from Tahoe’s North Shore can create horrendous traffic jams.
On some Sundays, especially during peak tourist seasons, cars are backed up through town all the way out to the Truckee airport on the town’s outskirts.
The project has been planned since the late 1980s, said Dan Landon, executive director of the Nevada County Transportation Commission.
At peak times, the section of roadway through the downtown area to be bypassed reaches what traffic engineers consider a failure point. On an A-F grading system, that means it gets an F at peak times, Landon said.
Truckee has been through about two years of difficult negotiations with Caltrans over the project. Caltrans initially planned to eliminate an entire interchange for Highway 80, but local residents objected, saying the new interchange made access to the downtown area too difficult.
Caltrans has agreed to allow two ramps at the old interchange. The reconfigured project will allow an eastbound offramp and a westbound onramp and eliminate the other two older ramps.
“I kept thinking, ‘We will prevail because we are right,'” Drake said.
Caltrans also has been negotiating for four months to hand over the existing section of Highway 267 to Truckee.
Before construction can begin, Caltrans still must obtain more state and federal environmental permits and needs the approval of the Federal Highway Administration, since I-80 is an interstate highway.
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