Delays expected during Interstate 80 work this summer | SierraSun.com

Delays expected during Interstate 80 work this summer

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

It’s going to be another big summer for construction work on Interstate 80, which prompted some concern at a transit meeting Thursday morning about it discouraging visitors from making the trek to Tahoe.

Officials replied that detours could begin as soon as 7 p.m. but would be pushed back to 11 p.m. as often as possible. Also, crews would avoid forcing detours on Saturday and Sunday nights.

“The economy is challenging enough right now, but obviously we know I-80 is in need of a lot of work to make it nicer for everybody,” said Truckee-North Tahoe Transportation Management Association’s Steve Teshara on Thursday. “Some of us were saying, if you come up earlier, we’ve got a great place for you to eat dinner. We just want something that doesn’t make them turn away and go home.”

Part of the first major overhaul of the interstate since it was constructed in the 1960s, this summer will include more work on Donner Summit and in the Truckee River Canyon.

Starting from the east, Caltrans will be working in the Truckee River Canyon from the Truckee River Bridge to the Nevada state line, replacing pavement, guardrails, barriers, and drainage, beginning in May and ending fall 2011 at a cost of $73 million.

Three projects are planned in the Donner Summit area.

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The first will repave from the Donner Lake interchange down the hill to Truckee, repairing 6.4 lane-miles of road, starting now and ending in the fall of 2010 at a cost of $71 million.

Next up is repaving from Soda Springs to just west of Donner Summit, also replacing bridges at Castle Peak (started last summer with the westbound bridge) slated to finish this fall, costing a total of $71 million.

Also starting this spring will be repaving from the Castle Peak under-crossing to 1.4 miles west of the Donner Park over-crossing and the westbound lanes from the rest area to the Donner Lake under-crossing, at a price of $78 million and planned to wrap up fall 2011.

All the Truckee-Donner area projects will narrow traffic to one lane per direction, said Rochelle Jenkins, spokeswoman for Caltrans.

“It [traffic] has the potential to be pretty bad,” Jenkins said. “We anticipate a huge backup in the Truckee River Canyon, because there is no way around it.”

Further down the western slope projects are underway or are planned for Nyak, Hampshire Rocks under-crossing and Emigrant Gap.

Westbound traffic is being detoured from Interstate 80 at night on the western slope.

Passenger vehicles will be detoured using Rollins Lake Road and big rigs, buses, and RVs will be detoured onto the Highway 20/49 corridor.

Both detours will be clearly signed and patrolled by the California Highway Patrol, starting and ending times for the detours will vary day to day.

Ryan Slabaugh contributed to this story.

Go to http://www.getacross80.com for more information, or to sign up for weekly e-mail alerts on traffic conditions and closures.

Businesses can contact Rochelle Jenkins at (530) 634-7640 for business listings on http://www.getacross80.com to help promote tourism in the area despite the potential traffic delays.