Double roundabout could be complete by the end of ’04
A double roundabout project for the onramp and offramp intersections of Interstate 80 at state Route 89 south, is going up for bid and could be finished as early as this fall.
The stop signs that currently control the intersections cause congestion and safety hazards during peak traffic days, the public works department said. Other problems, such as the short left hand turn pocket onto westbound Interstate 80, prompted Caltrans to plan for traffic signals at the intersections.
But the town is willing to foot most of the bill in order to avoid putting stoplights at the intersections, which they feel would also create congestion during heavy holiday and weekend traffic.
Town Engineer Dan Wilkins said the roundabouts may present certain maintenance challenges, and take drivers’ a while to get used to, but the configurations will perform their function of keeping the traffic flowing.
Construction of the roundabouts will also present certain hurdles, like dealing with high traffic flow during construction. The town plans to hire two former Caltrans employees to help manage the project.
The approval process, which includes several state and federal agencies, has already been challenging, and the unique nature of a dual-lane roundabout has made the project “higher profile,” Wilkins said.
The roundabouts, which have already received environmental approval, are projected to cost the town $2.4 million, with Caltrans contributing an additional $750,000. The Truckee Town Council authorized Wilkins to pursue construction bids at Thursday’s council meeting.
Caltrans’ $750,000 was designated for putting signals at the ramp intersections, but the town will now use that money toward the roundabout project.
The town will finance the project with AB 1600 fees or traffic mitigation fees, of which the council has allocated $2.75 million for the project.
The public works department hopes to have the project out for bid by mid-May, with construction beginning on the road shoulders in June or July. After Labor Day, when traffic is lighter, the project is expected broaden to the actual roadways and ramps.
Donner Crest appeal
A neighbor’s appeal on the 82-lot Donner Crest Subdivision proposal, which was approved by the planning commission on March 10, was denied by the town council Thursday.
Appellants Bill, Carol and Bob Donnelly sought the removal of four lots from the project, an increased amount of tree replacement, and traffic calming measures in the subdivision. The appellants also said that more Tahoe Donner residents should have been directly notified of the project, especially since the increased traffic would affect the entire area.
The council added two measures to the decision to deal with these concerns. They increased the number of trees to be planted Ð from 200 to 220 Ð for screening along Northwoods Boulevard and where the subdivision borders Tahoe Donner. They also made it mandatory that subdivision regulations prohibit unnecessary tree removal.
Otherwise, the project was approved with the proposed 82 custom home lots.
In other news
The town has selected Quad Knopf Inc. to undertake the Environmental Impact Report for the 250-home Tahoe Boca subdivision proposal, a plan that the planning department believes will be one of the most controversial the town has seen.
The council also authorized the formation of a committee to review the finding of a development impact fee study that recommends a $5,500 impact fee on every new single-family home. The committee will include a broad cross section of interests.
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Jaime Alessio took this video of a bobcat wandering around Kings Beach in broad daylight.