Tahoe’s Cave Rock overhaul taking break for Hot August Nights | SierraSun.com

Tahoe’s Cave Rock overhaul taking break for Hot August Nights

Claire Cudahy
ccudahy@tahoedailytribune.com

GLENBROOK, Nev. — As Nevada Department of Transportatio prepares to transition to the next phase of construction on the Cave Rock tunnel extension project, crews will be cleaning up and shutting down work for part of the 10-day classic car event, Hot August Nights.

Hot August Nights takes place from Friday, July 29, through Sunday, Aug. 7, in Virginia City, Reno and Sparks, and attracts classic car enthusiasts from all over the country.

Though the event's South Lake Tahoe Experience was canceled after 2014 due to a low economic impact, NDOT is anticipating some drivers will still take the scenic route along Highway 50. Construction will be halted from Aug. 1-7 as a result.

Construction on the Cave Rock tunnel began May 9 and includes a 60-foot tunnel extension on the north side of westbound tunnel lanes, plus bike safety and stormwater management updates.

NDOT roadway design engineer Devin Cartwright said most of the base tunnel extension structure is completed and the next step is adding "aesthetic color and texture with a shotcrete product and colored stain."

"Our goal is to add texture and color, so that the new tunnel extension blends in a little better with the adjacent rock faces," Cartwright noted.

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Work on dynamic message signs warning motorists of ice and bikes in the tunnel is "ongoing," he said, as is progress on paving and drainage.

"People may not know that we had some peregrine falcons nesting on the south side of Cave Rock," Cartwright added. "They successfully raised three baby falcons and now that they've left the nest, we'll start work on the south side of Cave Rock to pave the roadway through both tunnels and pave the median ditch."

Tunnel work this summer is the result of loosened boulders falling on the highway, causing safety concerns.

NDOT installed temporary netting after boulders fell on the roadway during the winter of 2014-15 to mitigate rockfall until the tunnel extension was built.

Presently, travel speeds are reduced to 25 mph in the construction zone, and both directions have been reduced to a single lane.

CAVE ROCK DAY-USE AREA

Improvements by Nevada State Parks to the day-use area located beneath the face of Cave Rock will begin Aug. 1. The boat launch facility will close for approximately 30 to 60 days for construction.

New storm drains will catch runoff from the highway and driveway of the park, and allow sediment to settle out before the water goes into the lake.

"The goal being to preserve the clarity of Tahoe," said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources spokesperson Jenny Ramella.

The old boat ramp at the south end of the park will be removed, allowing the area to return to a sandy beach. A new entrance station will also be built in the parking lot.

Construction on the Cave Rock day-use area and tunnel is slated for completion by fall 2016.