No joke: West Shore roadwork to snarl traffic beginning April 1

Margaret Moran

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — Travelers on Highway 89 along Lake Tahoe’s West Shore can soon expect traffic delays due to the continuation of a collaborative project between Caltrans and Southwest Gas.

As Caltrans works to install a new stormwater collection and treatment system, Southwest Gas will replace and relocate existing natural gas pipelines along the highway in a three-phase project — the first two phases take place this year, with Phase Three in 2014.

Phase One, which began last summer, will re-start April 1 and end mid-May, weather permitting, with roadwork taking place between Pine Street and Grimsel Pass Road, officials said. Phase Two will start May 1, weather permitting, and could continue through Oct. 15, between Grimsel Pass Road and Timberland Lane.

“We’re looking forward to a good season of getting the work done in the most efficient manner we can with the least intrusion as possible,” said Greg Davis, construction manager for Northern Nevada with Southwest Gas.

Drivers can expect a one-lane closure with a wait period no longer than 20 minutes during daytime hours for both phases, said Steve Nelson, Caltrans spokesperson. The exception is when work for Phase One and Phase Two overlap in May, causing a total of two closures, one at each zone.

For evening hours during Phase One, up to three closures can be expected, as a result of Southwest Gas having the option to work at night, a time when Caltrans will be installing sand vaults. The number of evening closures for Phase Two is unknown at this time.

Daytime and evening roadwork hours depend on high and low season, Nelson said. During the low season, work and road closures will not be allowed between noon Friday and midnight Sunday. During the high season, road work will not occur between 10 a.m. Friday and midnight Sunday.

The project, which includes road repayment, road widening among other improvements, is part of a lake-wide effort by Caltrans to protect the clarity of Lake Tahoe by reducing stormwater sediment run-off.

To get Southwest Gas project updates, visit or call 800-835-6260. For Caltrans updates, go to

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