Feds give tentative OK to ramp retention plan
The Federal Highway Administration recently issued conceptual approval of the Truckee Ramp Project, stating that the westbound on-ramp and the eastbound off-ramp at Interstate 80 and Highway 89 will be retained when the Highway 267 Bypass is constructed, Town Engineer Dan Wilkins told town council members last week.
For three years, town officials and residents have been working with state and federal officials to retain the four highway ramps at I-80 and Highway 89, which were all originally slated for demolition with construction of the bypass.
With the support of Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as the support of Congressman Wally Herger, a coalition of town officials traveled to Washington, D.C. last year to discuss the importance of the ramp project to the Truckee community. The FHWA demonstrated a willingness to work with the town in its request for retaining the ramps, Wilkins said, and decided to consider retaining the two ramps which town officials felt were most important to cross-town access.
These two ramps are the eastbound off-ramp and the westbound on-ramp.
“The FHWA had some problems with left-turns from the off-ramp,” Wilkins said, adding that town officials disagree with these FHWA findings. The project was given conceptual approval with the understanding that no left turns would be allowed.
In response to comment by town officials, the agency stated that future development in the area north of I-80 or transportation improvements may warrant re-evaluating the project to possibly allow left-turns from the off-ramp at a later time.
Town council decided Dec. 16 to accept the FHWA’s conceptual approval of the ramp project.
“We’ve got 90 percent of what we’ve asked for and the door is cracked on the remaining 10 percent,” Wilkins said. “It’s a tough issue and ultimately we’ve had to compromise. But the FHWA has agreed that we can revisit this issue in the future, and my sense is that we’ll be successful.”
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Eastbound Interstate 80 is closed at Floriston after a big rig flipped on its side, blocking both lanes.