More delays expected at new inspection station | SierraSun.com

More delays expected at new inspection station

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun A truck drives through the new agricultural inspection station on Interstate 80 Tuesday afternoon. The station is still not open because of construction delays.
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The new agricultural inspection station on Interstate 80 continues to be hampered by construction delays.

East-bound traffic has not yet been routed through the $20 million inspection station, which was originally set to open Dec. 15, then pushed back to early January.

Meanwhile, equipment from the old “bug station” has been removed, and Caltrans is planning to resurface and re-strip that section of I-80.

Jay Van Rein, an information officer for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, said the contractor reported issues with suppliers and construction, but the contractor wasn’t willing to venture a guess as to when the project would be complete.

“They’ve guessed wrong enough times they don’t want to guess again,” Van Rein said.

Construction should be completed after the approval of revised fire suppression plans at the new facility. Fire concerns were raised due to the structure’s proximity to Tahoe National Forest, Van Rein said.

Commercial vehicle inspection continues to be run out of a temporary trailer at the new site near the California Highway Patrol scales, Van Rein said, and the fate of private vehicle inspection is still unknown.

A pilot project in Needles, Calif., testing the need to inspect private vehicles for prohibited materials, will be completed in June, Van Rein said, and may determine whether or not private vehicles will ever be checked in Truckee.

A benefit of the relocation is less traffic disruption for Truckee drivers ” instead focusing on vehicles coming from across the state line, Van Rein said.

According to an e-mail from Van Rein, the old site in Truckee saw an average of 30,500 vehicles passing through per day, while the new site east of Truckee sees 24,400 per day.

Confusion over lane delineation on Interstate 80 at the previous agricultural inspection station will be addressed by Caltrans, said Al Reed, resident engineer for Caltrans in Truckee.

“That will be taken care of as soon as the contractor can get to it,” Reed said. “They will use a diamond-blade pavement grinder and grind the pavement down to the level of the recessed strips, smooth it out, and make new recesses with inlayed strips.”

A more complete overhaul of that section of I-80, stretching from Highway 89 south to the Donner Lake Interchange, is tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2008, Reed said.

“It’s scheduled for the summer, but a lot could happen between now and then,” Reed said.