$300,000 North Tahoe crosswalk upgrade begins; Cave Rock lane closures, too | SierraSun.com

$300,000 North Tahoe crosswalk upgrade begins; Cave Rock lane closures, too

Dual pedestrian-activated flashers will be installed at this Highway 28 crosswalk in front of Raley's.
File photo |

By the numbers

32: pedestrian deaths on Nevada highways in 2015 (as of Tuesday)

38: pedestrian deaths in same timeframe in 2014

69: pedestrian deaths in all of 2014 on Nevada highways

11: pedestrian deaths on state highways in Washoe County in 2014

8: pedestrian deaths on state highways in Washoe County in 2013

Source: NDOT

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — State transportation officials are scheduled to begin work this week on a long-awaited safety upgrade to the main pedestrian crosswalks in a North Lake Tahoe town.

Crews are scheduled to begin initial work Tuesday, Sept. 8, on Highway 28 in Incline Village, the Nevada Department of Transportation announced this morning.

“This is a very important project to enhance safety and mobility in Incline Village, and we feel these are valuable and worthwhile improvements that will ultimately make State Route 28 even safer and easier to travel for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians alike,” said NDOT Public Information Officer Meg Ragonese.

The roughly $300,000 project will relocate the pedestrian crosswalk on Highway 28 west of Village Boulevard (near Christmas Tree Village shopping center) closer to the existing Tahoe Area Regional Transit bus stop and pedestrian crossing points near there.

The crosswalk east of Village, in front of the Raley’s shopping center, will remain in place to serve the existing TART bus stop, according to NDOT.

At both crosswalks, enhanced pedestrian ramps will be installed, and two rectangular, pedestrian-controlled rapid-flashing beacons will be added.

Two overhead LED street lights also will be added at each stop, designed to illuminate the walkways while also minimizing glare for passing motorists.

The project also includes improvements to Country Club Drive by restriping the road to include exclusive left turn lanes in both directions onto Highway 28, and upgraded sensors to detect when traffic is building up at red lights on either road.

PROJECT TIMELINE, COST

Work is projected to complete by the end of fall, with any digging and major work wrapping by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Oct. 15 grading season end, according to NDOT.

“The majority of this project involves minor electrical work, roadway striping and signage installation — a type of work which can often be extended past the October 15 deadline under our memorandum of understanding with the TRPA,” Ragonese said.

Drivers should only expect “minor, intermittent travel delays during construction,” officials said.

NDOT recently awarded the project contract to Sparks-based Sierra Nevada Construction.

It will be funded as part of roughly $10 million in state highway funds NDOT will dedicate to pedestrian enhancements in the Las Vegas, Reno and Tahoe areas over the next year.

In January, NDOT estimated the project would cost about $260,000. Since, the estimate increased due to some additional unforeseen work, Ragonese said.

“(Additionally) with the economy improving, the construction industry in general has improved,” she added. “As more construction projects are available, increased demand can at times lead to fewer companies bidding and not the same type of extremely competitive bids that were typically seen during the height of the recession.”

The project begins almost four years after Incline Village residents Robert C. Mathis and Linda Mathis died when they were hit by a vehicle on Dec. 30, 2011, near the unlit Raley’s crosswalk.

According to NDOT, 32 pedestrian deaths have occurred on Nevada roads so far in 2015, compared to 38 deaths in the same timeframe last year.

There were 69 pedestrian fatalities in 2014 on Nevada highways, according to NDOT, 11 of which occurred in Washoe County, compared to eight in the same time period in 2013.

CAVE ROCK PROJECT

Also announced today, NDOT will start work on Wednesday, Sept. 9, U.S. 50 through Cave Rock on Lake Tahoe’s southeast shore.

Both directions of traffic will be alternated through the eastbound Cave Rock tunnel, officials said, with delays of up to 30 minutes possible each weekday between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The daytime closures are anticipated to last four or five weeks.

Closures are for testing and prep work for a project next spring that will extend the westbound, lakeside tunnel entrance, “providing an extended overhang for further driver safety and protection against potential rockfall,” officials said.

This past winter, heavy rains loosened rocks from above the tunnel.

“Rockfall reduction and slope stabilization experts removed rock debris above the tunnel and surveyed current rock face condition for safety and stability,” according to NDOT.