Tahoe’s Fanny Bridge on short list for federal funding

Margaret Moran
People lean over the famed Fanny Bridge in Tahoe City. The bridge earned its name due to the ability of passing motorists and pedestrians to see people's fannies as they stare at the Truckee River.
File photo | Sierra Sun

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To learn more about the SR 89/Fanny Bridge Community Revitalization Project, visit and click on “Fanny Bridge Revitalization” link on the right-hand side under current projects. Questions may be sent to Margaret Skillicorn, community outreach specialist, at or by calling 775-846-2381.

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — On the eve of the Lake Tahoe Dam turning 100 years old, the adjacent Fanny Bridge is in good shape to receive federal funds for its multimillion-dollar overhaul.

The Highway 89/Fanny Bridge Community Revitalization Project recently made the Federal Lands Access Program short list, officials said.

The FLAP grant finances projects that improve transportation facilities that either provide access to federal lands, or are located within or next to them.

Alfred Knotts, transportation projects manager for the Tahoe Transportation District, said there’s a “high likelihood” the project will be selected for funding. The grant will be awarded sometime in September or October.

“This grant gives us the opportunity to complete another project in the Tahoe Basin sooner than later, as many plans including this one have been discussed for years but weren’t completed due to lack of funding,” TTD General Manager Carl Hasty said in a statement.

Improvements to Highway 89 and the 84-year-old Fanny Bridge — which has structural deficiencies and experiences heavy congestion, particularly during peak season — are expected to cost about $22 million, Knotts said.

If the full FLAP grant request is awarded, $18 million of the $22 million will be covered, he said. Additional funding will likely come from local and state sources, Knotts said.

Final project cost will depend on which project alternative is selected.

TWO MORE options

According to the TTD, six alternatives are being assessed, plus a no-build option.

Originally, there were four alternatives proposed, all of which included repair/replacement of the bridge and a new four-lane bridge over the Truckee River. Variations among these alternatives include:

Use of roundabouts and a traffic signal.

Highway 89 becoming a local street or a cul-de-sac on the southern side of Fanny Bridge.

Fanny Bridge being used for pedestrian, bicycle and emergency access only.

The remaining two alternatives were developed in response to input from residents and business owners, according to the district, requesting consideration be given to an option within the current alignment of highways 89 and 28.

One option would replace the existing bridge with a wider structure to accommodate three northbound and two southbound travel lanes. This option would also modify the Wye intersection by replacing the free right turns on eastbound and northbound Highway 89 with right-turn pockets.

In the other alternative, the Wye would be replaced with a two-lane roundabout, and the existing Save Mart driveway on the north leg would be eliminated.

Overall project goals include improving pedestrian, cyclist and driver safety; relieving existing congestion of Highway 89 to improve vehicle mobility and user experience; and providing two viable emergency evacuation routes from the West Shore, among others.

While the TTD, as project sponsor, has no preferred alternative, Knotts said the last two don’t meet project goals.

Selection of a preferred alternative will be made upon completion of the final environmental review document, Knotts said.

Currently, a draft environmental review report is being developed, with an expected release date of 12 to 14 months from now.

Project construction is tentatively scheduled to start in 2016, with work likely taking two years to complete, Knotts said.

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