Bypass nearing completion |

Bypass nearing completion

Photo by Lindsey Rhynard

If you were frustrated by bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go traffic over the long Fourth of July weekend, relief might be just around the corner.

Sometime in October the $32 million Highway 267 Bypass is scheduled to open.

“We are on schedule and on budget. We haven’t run out of money yet,” Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Resident Engineer Robert J. Burton said with a laugh on Tuesday.

Burton said officials hope to set a firm opening date around September 1.

Caltrans officials and contractors started working on the bypass project in 1999.

Two firms, MCM Construction of North Highlands, and Ladd and Associates from Redding are the major contractors in a joint venture.

Burton said Caltrans has only 10 or so employees on the job.

“We function as an owner … That’s our job, to make sure it gets built according to specifications and that everybody gets paid on time,” Burton said.

MCM is doing most of the work on the 1,500-foot-long bridge and it’s six supports.

Ladd is “moving the dirt,” including hauling up to 500,000 cubic yards of material.

Last fall company officials said the bypass should be done by August, but that estimate was moved back to October.

Still, the project is well ahead of its completion date. It was originally scheduled to stretch into the 2003 construction season.

Since work resumed this spring, the concrete paving of the bypass has been the focus.

An on-site concrete batch plant, visible from Highway 89 just north of Interstate 80, has supplied the concrete. At the height of construction, the plant produced up to 2,000 cubic yards of premixed concrete in one day.

The concrete for the bridge itself and much of the six supports came from Truckee North Tahoe Materials.

Once the paving is complete, attention will shift to the northern and southern tie-ins to Interstate 80 and the existing Highway 267. Caltrans will also refurbish the current eastbound Interstate 80 off ramp to Highway 267 and the westbound on ramp at Highway 89. Town officials lobbied hard to keep those two ramps open so people would have a more direct routes, including into and out of downtown.

“We still have quite a bit of work to do on those things,” Burton said.

In all, there will be three stoplights on the bypass- one at the northern tie-in with Highway 89, another at the end of the Interstate 80 off ramp and one near the southern tie-in at Joerger Drive.

What is now the stretch of Highway 267 from the bypass to downtown, will become Old Brockway Road. It will end in a cul-de-sac near the bypass.

Those leaving Truckee and headed to Northstar-at-Tahoe and Kings Beach will turn left onto to Joerger Drive and right at the signalized bypass intersection.

Directly under the bypass, Caltrans has purchased one of the holding ponds previously owned by Tahoe Truckee Sanitation Agency.

They will use it for a storage area for snow plowed off the bypass.

Because of sand and salt used on the roads in the winter, Burton said “We aren’t allowed to blow snow off the road and into the river. So we will have to haul it down here.”

Burton said this bypass is almost identical to the Roseville bypass near Highway 65 and Interstate 80.

The bypass is one of three major projects by Caltrans in the area. The other two include the Trout Creek Bridge work and the road and bridge work before and after Floriston.

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