Lake Tahoe’s $25M highway improvement plan gets boost
RENO, Nev. — Transportation officials at Lake Tahoe are moving forward with a $25 million plan to improve the Nevada state highway along the longest stretch of the mountain lake’s undeveloped shoreline.
Construction is expected to begin next summer on everything from new bike paths and transit stops, to safer guard rails and better storm-water collection filters along the 11-mile stretch of State Route 28 between Incline Village and U.S. Highway 50.
“This is the single most significant project on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe in decades,” said Washoe County Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler, who also is a member of the Tahoe Transportation District board.
The commission approved a memorandum of agreement on Wednesday allocating $12.5 million in U.S. transportation funds for the project through the Federal Lands Access Program.
In addition to improving safety, facilitating mass transit and enhancing visitor enjoyment, the project is expected to help improve water clarity. Studies show about two-thirds of pollutants that degrade the clarity of the lake’s water come from runoff from roads, parking lots and other developed areas.
Segments of Highway 28 will be improved in Washoe, Carson and Douglas counties with expanded off-highway parking, new scenic view points, emergency pullouts and a park-n-ride lot near U.S. Highway 50.
Construction will begin with 3 miles of new off-highway bike path from Incline Village’s Lakeshore Drive to Sand Harbor.
The Federal Lands Access Program makes money available to improve access to high-use federal recreation sites. The U.S. Forest Service’s Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is the most-visited national forest.
The two-lane mountainside road is the only access route to the area where an estimated 2.6 million vehicles travel annually.
The Tahoe Transportation District is leading the effort in partnership with 12 other agencies developing the “Route 28 Corridor Management Plan.”
“This example proves beyond question the value of public-private funding,” District Manager Carl Hasty said. “The leveraging of private support has been instrumental to securing federal monies and serves as a model for future efforts.”
Other agencies involved include the Federal Highway Administration, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, U.S. Forest Service, Nevada Division of State Parks, Nevada Division of State Lands, Nevada Highway Patrol, Washoe Tribe, Incline Village General Improvement District and the three counties.