Lake Tahoe cyclists rejoice as Caltrans commits to Highway 89 repavement
TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. andamp;#8212; Cyclists have rallied for it, demanded it, rumored and wished for it, and now, finally, itandamp;#8217;s confirmed andamp;#8212; all $8.5 million of it.On Tuesday, Caltrans Public Information Officer Deanna Shoopman said a portion of Highway 89 connecting Tahoe City to Truckee will be repaved, shoulder to shoulder, allowing cyclists a safer and less-rutted route along the scenic Truckee River.The project will begin next spring, Shoopman said, taking one construction season to complete; funds from the California State Highway Operation Protection Program will be used.andamp;#8220;It will be a lot easier to maintain once we have a good base for it, so weandamp;#8217;re excited,andamp;#8221; Shoopman said.Local cyclists this week hailed the repaving as a milestone for the rut-and-cut highway they say hasnandamp;#8217;t been repaved for nearly a decade.Brian Nakagawa, repair shop manager at Olympic Bike Shop in Tahoe City, said cyclists have been concerned for years about being forced to weave dangerously near vehicle traffic to avoid ruts.The new roadway will serve a utilitarian purpose for locals, Nakagawa said, some of whom work at his shop and ride the highway on a frequent basis.andamp;#8220;Any improvement to the cycling community is definitely supported,andamp;#8221; Nakagawa said.Paco Lindsay, owner of Pacoandamp;#8217;s Truckee Bike and Ski, said heandamp;#8217;s been lobbying Caltrans for 10 years to get the highway repaved andamp;#8212; most recently before the 2010 Amgen Tour of California cycling race andamp;#8212; not only for rider safety, but also to better showcase Tahoe/Truckee as a stronger cycling destination.andamp;#8220;The street was terrible andamp;#8212; it was kind of a joke,andamp;#8221; Lindsay said.Lindsay also commended Caltrans for listening to the regionandamp;#8217;s cycling constituents, describing relations between the two parties as nothing but civil.In June, Lindsay said Caltrans committed to the repaving for 2012; however, in August, more than 70 cyclists met with Caltrans representatives to voice concerns and express feedback for how they felt the state agency is performing regionally.It was at the latter meeting, Lindsey said, that the upcoming project was confirmed for a second time by Caltrans.Caltrans has been aware of the roadandamp;#8217;s deteriorating condition since 2008, Shoopman said, when funding was allocated for the 2012 construction date.Repaving will start 0.2 miles south of the Squaw Valley USA exit and end at the Nevada County state line near Truckee.Despite construction, Shoopman said cyclists will be able to ride the road, as the highway will be repaved piece by piece.Furthermore, Shoopman said she will continue to reach out to cyclists during a public information meeting on Sept. 27 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the North Tahoe High School auditorium.andamp;#8220;Iandamp;#8217;m real pleased that theyandamp;#8217;re calling a second meeting,andamp;#8221; Lindsey said.
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