Delay to $1.1 million Lake Tahoe boat ramp project extends closure to May |

Delay to $1.1 million Lake Tahoe boat ramp project extends closure to May

Margaret Moran

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — Due to a construction setback, the Lake Forest boat ramp will remain closed this spring as crews continue work on its $1.1 million upgrade.

An inspector on Jan. 15 discovered the new ramp's interlocking, precast concrete panels didn't meet Tahoe City Public Utility District plans or state requirements for grooving, which helps with vehicle traction and keeping the ramp clean, said Matt Homolka, TCPUD district engineer/assistant general manager.

As of Friday, new panels, which will be installed below the lake's high water line at 6,229.1 feet, were being made to replace the incorrect ones, he said.

The delay means the ramp ­on Lake Forest Road east of Tahoe City won't reopen until early May, Homolka said. The work, which started last September to replace the 52-year-old ramp, was originally scheduled to wrap at the end of December.

The new ramp will provide larger, 15-foot-wide launching lanes in order to meet California boating and waterways standards and safely handle the high volume of launches and retrievals.

Lake Tahoe also is being dredged near the ramp to remove accumulated sediment and enable boating at lower lake levels.

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When asked about the likelihood of the ramp opening due to the current Western drought, Homolka said it will depend on Lake Tahoe's water level.

"We do not know what the lake level will be in May," he said. "As soon as the ramp construction work is remedied, we will test launch vessels and determine what, if any, restrictions we may need to put in place."

The lake's level stood at 6,222.83 as of Tuesday; it dipped below its natural 6,223-foot rim last fall.

Project cost of $1.1 million is above the previous estimate of $1.075 million, not due to the panel issue, Homolka said, but rather a need to replace saturated soil.

Funding sources still include a California Wildlife Conservation Board grant, North Lake Tahoe Resort Association and Placer County grants, and property tax collected by the PUD for parks and recreation.

The ramp is normally open year-round — hours vary depending on season — and reportedly has an average of 3,425 users annually.