Historic Tahoe City bridge/highway project open for feedback | SierraSun.com
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Historic Tahoe City bridge/highway project open for feedback

Margaret Moran
mmoran@sierrasun.com
Improvements are being proposed for Tahoe City's Fanny Bridge, as seen in the distance, to resolve traffic, access and structural integrity issues.
Margaret Moran / Sierra Sun |

VARYING AREAS OF IMPACT

Action alternatives 1 and 4 have zero significant and unavoidable impacts, while alternatives 6 and 6a have one, and alternatives 2 and 3 each have two. All impacts are in the area of traffic and transportation.

For alternatives 6 and 6a, there would be unavoidable construction-related traffic impacts due to the reduction to one travel lane over Fanny Bridge, according to the document.

For alternatives 2 and 3, there would be unavoidable roadway segment operations and intersection operations impacts in the future.

As for “potentially significant” and “significant” impacts that can be mitigated to “less than significant,” alternative 2 has 20 impacts; alternatives 1 and 3 have 19; alternative 4 has 18; and alternatives 6 and 6a each have 16.

Areas of impact are forest, biological, cultural, hazards, noise, recreation, scenic and traffic for alternatives 1 through 4. Where as for alternative 6 and 6a, they are biological; cultural; hazards; noise; recreation; population, employment and housing; and traffic.

Each action alternative also has beneficial environmental impacts — alternative 1 has six; alternatives 2 through 4 and 6a have five; and alternative 6 three.

Common areas of benefit among all are in geology, recreation and traffic, with alternatives 1 through 4 having an added benefit to public services, and alternative 1 to population, employment and housing.

The draft Fanny Bridge document does not identify a preferred alternative.

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UPCOMING HEARINGS:

— TTD Board of Directors meeting, 9:30 a.m., Friday, Jan. 23, Granlibakken Tahoe, 725 Granlibakken Road, Tahoe City

— TRPA Governing Board meeting, 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 28, The Chateau, 955 Fairway Blvd., Incline Village

More online: Visit FannyBridge.org" target="_blank">Bold">FannyBridge.org learn more about the Fanny Bridge/Highway 89 Community Revitalization Project; and visit tahoetransportation.org" target="_blank">Bold">tahoetransportation.org or trpa.org" target="_blank">Bold">trpa.org to download a copy of the draft report.

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — Some of the proposed upgrade options to Tahoe City’s aging Fanny Bridge will cause significant and unavoidable impacts to West Shore transportation.

This is just one of the findings in the project’s recently released draft environmental document, which aims to resolve existing and future traffic congestion at the “Wye” intersection, improve safety and access, and address the structural integrity of Fanny Bridge.

“Although change of any kind causes concern — and should — we need to make sure it’s well thought out and reasonable,” said Tahoe City resident Marguerite Sprague, who supports the project. “… We have to cope with change here. Our only choice is ‘which change’?”

Six alternatives are proposed along with one no-project option. Four alternatives (1 through 4) involve construction of a new bridge over the Truckee River, realignment of Highway 89 and the bike path, and modification to the Caltrans maintenance yard.

The other two (6 and 6a) would rehabilitate or replace and widen the existing bridge on the current Highway 89 alignment, and modify the existing “Wye” intersection.

“You can envision a very different community environment with different scenarios,” Sprague said. “All of them have some merit, and all of them have some drawbacks.”

‘THE COMMUNITY HAS TO DECIDE’

Tahoe City resident Jim Sajdak has been an outspoken critic of alternatives that call for Highway 89 realignment for years.

“I will only support a project that benefits our business community, natural environment and does not develop an unjustified highway system through a currently forested area and neighborhood,” he said.

Sajdak said he thinks a modified version of 6a would work best. A benefit he identifies with 6a — which proposes a roundabout at the “Wye” — includes creating a gateway to Lake Tahoe in Tahoe City, allowing westbound traffic to move constantly through and preventing the potential bypass of income to Tahoe City businesses by vehicles traveling around the entrance.

“This proposed project has such a large potential to impact our community and environment that the community needs to decide on the preferred alternative, not a local agency,” Sajdak said.

Alfred Knotts, transportation projects manager for Tahoe Transportation District, said it’s standard practice that a preferred alternative isn’t identified until after a draft environmental document has been circulated.

“The underlining rationale is that the document is considered draft until public comment has occurred and been considered, as new information can come to light as a result of the public review,” he said.

WHAT’S NEXT

Comments are due by 5 p.m., Feb. 17. They can be mailed to Brain Judge, principal environmental specialist, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, PO Box 5310, Stateline, NV 89449; faxed to 775-588-4527; or emailed to bjudge@trpa.org.

Following the completion of responses to comments received and preparation of a final environmental document, agency leads — TTD, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Central Federal Lands Highway Division — will select a preferred alternative and make the final determination on its environmental effect.

Hard copies of the draft are available at the offices of the TTD, TRPA and Placer County Planning Services; Tahoe City Public Utility District, and the Tahoe City, Kings Beach and Truckee libraries.


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