Official: North Lake Tahoe highway overhaul will likely take ‘several years’
KINGS BEACH, Calif. – Despite construction funding shortfalls, the Kings Beach three-lane project will move forward this summer, albeit with a piecemeal approach that could extend construction across several years, officials said.
With $24 million in construction funding secured out of a needed $34 million, certain elements of the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project have been prioritized into the “Core of the Core,” with construction targeted to start mid-August.
“If we don’t move now, some of those ($24 million) funds could expire,” said Peter Kraatz, Placer County Department of Public Works deputy director, at a well-attended project open house Tuesday night in Kings Beach. “Our intent always has been and continues to be building this entire project.”
Projects within the “Core of the Core” – which is expected to take up to three construction seasons to complete – include:
• Full streetscape improvements from Secline Street to the Minnow parking lot entrance, including Highway 28 resizing, installation of roundabouts and creation of bike lanes.
• Bike lanes and roadway striping from Highway 267 to Chipmunk Street.
• Five of seven storm drain systems/crossings.
• Three of four remaining satellite parking lots.
• An additional 13 speed humps, mostly located in The Grid.
• Improved transit facilities and bus shelters.
As for the additional $10 million, Kraatz said the county will apply for funding through the State Transportation Improvement Program, and other grants will be pursued, such as the state’s Community Development Block Grant Program.
Securing those funds will allow the following project elements to be constructed:
• Drainage and other improvements from Secline Street to Highway 267.
• Drainage and other improvements from the entrance of the Minnow parking lot to Chipmunk Street.
• Portions of sidewalks and traffic-calming measures within The Grid.
• A future parking lot, the property purchase of which is still being negotiated.
Those elements would be part of a second bid package – the first being the “Core of the Core” – meaning construction of the entire project could take “several years” to complete, Kraatz said.
“I know everybody … would want to see us get this project done as quickly as possible,” Kraatz said, mentioning that there are constraints on when construction can occur, considering the TRPA grading season lasts each year at Lake Tahoe from May 1-October 15. “It’s a balance.”
To minimize impacts on the “Core of the Core,” the contractor, which has yet to be selected, will work on a block-by-block basis to minimize the disturbance in front of businesses, and signage announcing that Kings Beach is “open for business” will be on display, said Patrick Perkins, project construction manager.
Further, construction in the town’s core – for example, in front the Kings Beach Recreation Area – will be done during the shoulder season months of May, June, September and October, said Brian Stephenson, project engineer.
“I know … your biggest concern is making sure your businesses operate during construction,” Kraatz told residents Tuesday. “There will be impacts. … At the end of the day, when this project is built, we’ve always said it’s a cornerstone for redevelopment.”