North Tahoe highway overhaul named ‘Project of the Year’
KINGS BEACH, Calif. — Placer County’s Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project recently was honored with the 2015 Project of the Year award by the Sacramento chapter of the American Public Works Association.
The $50 million overhaul of the 1.1-mile section of Highway 28 through town — as well as upgrading the adjacent “Grid” residential neighborhood into a “more environmentally friendly and walkable community,” according to the county — kicked off last summer, and is expected to fully wrap in 2016.
The APWA award was for the “complete street transportation” category.
According to Placer County, the association recognizes public works projects “demonstrating excellence in management, administration, design, construction and community relations, as well as the alliance among the managing agency and the consultants, engineers and contractor who work on the project.”
The county heralded the award in a July 22 news release, a few days after announcing in a project update to the community that both Highway 28 roundabouts built last year as part of the project’s first phase required $250,000 in additional work due to an oversight in their construction.
According to a July 22 Sierra Sun story, Placer County and Caltrans will split the cost to overhaul the islands leading into the roundabouts to prevent snowplows from hitting curbs, which occurred last winter and damaged at least one state plow.
In the story, Placer County and Caltrans officials stressed pedestrian and vehicle safety within the roundabouts — which were designed by Placer County and approved by Caltrans — is not an issue.
Officials said the construction oversight was due to a combination of the Kings Beach circles being smaller than most in the state, and an inability to know how well snowplows could navigate them in the snow without a real-life trial.
Aside from creating two roundabouts and changing Highway 28 in town from four lanes to three, the Commercial Core project includes water-quality improvements to help preserve Lake Tahoe’s clarity; installation of sidewalks and bicycle lanes; and other aesthetic upgrades like benches, landscaping and decorative lights.
“I appreciate all the perseverance and hard work public works did to get this project into the construction phase,” Placer County District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, whose district includes Kings Beach, said in a statement. “While the focus has always been to improve both the lake and Kings Beach and the economic benefits that flow from those accomplishments, I congratulate public works staff and I’m proud that their efforts have earned the recognition of their peers.”
The award will be presented to the county’s public works staff at an awards ceremony in August.