Roundabout to open in mid-November | SierraSun.com
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Roundabout to open in mid-November

JOHN A. BAYLESS

Construction should be completed by mid-November on Truckee’s downtown roundabout and undercrossing – a project which has been in the works since 1996.

Town Engineer Dan Wilkins said traffic on Donner Pass Road near the roundabout will be restricted to one lane from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for the next week, as contractors adjust the elevations on the road.

“We are looking at the first or second week of November to open it,” Wilkins said. “The paving work should be done in two to two-and-a-half weeks, but there are a lot of little things to button up.”

In addition, he said conduits are being installed for underground utility lines.

Wilkins said the town timed work on the Donner Pass Road portion of the roundabout to occur after the summer tourist season so it would interfere with traffic as little as possible.

“We phased construction so that the work would take place in a lower traffic period,” Wilkins said. “What we have now is mostly local traffic.”

When the roundabout is in place, it will control access to Donner Pass Road as well as the new undercrossing road which will connect Donner Pass Road and West River Street.

Cars entering the roundabout from any direction will turn right and proceed around the center circle.

Motorists will then have the option of turning right into the underpass onto West River Street or onto Donner Pass Road. Cars entering the roundabout will yield to vehicles already in the circle.

Wilkins said the town located the roundabout at some distance from the new undercrossing so that a moderate grade could be maintained on the road.

As it is, extensive excavation was required to connect Donner Pass Road with the western undercrossing at a reasonable grade.

When the project is complete, a sidewalk will extend along West River Street, through the undercrossing and along Donner Pass Road toward downtown.

“Ultimately it will tie in with the downtown streetscapes project as part of the Downtown Specific Plan,” Wilkins said.

In keeping with the colors of some downtown sidewalks, the crosswalks at the roundabout will be made of brown concrete, as will the small islands where roads enter and exit the roundabout, he said.

The center curb of the roundabout will be constructed of gray concrete, with embedded arrows of black concrete indicating the direction of travel.

For now, the center of the roundabout will be landscaped with boulders and a flower garden, Wilkins said.

The roundabout and undercrossing came about following an agreement between Union Pacific Railroad and the Town of Truckee. When Union Pacific and Southern Pacific announced their merger in 1995, it was immediately obvious that rail traffic would increase.

Town officials brokered an agreement with Union Pacific in 1996, and the railroad agreed to pick up the $1 million cost of the bridge over the undercrossing, while the town constructed the roundabout and excavated the new road under the bridge. The railroad completed the bridge in early January of this year, and Burdick Excavating began work on the undercrossing and roundabout in late June.

Other projects

In addition to the nearly-completed roundabout, work continues on the new Glenshire Bridge, which is slightly behind schedule, Wilkins said.

“The bridge is a little behind, but the contractor hopes it will be caught up by the end of the construction season,” he said. “They hope to have the footings poured and both of the piers started by the end of this season.”

Work should also be completed this season on a right-turn pocket on Glenshire Driver at Highway 267, Wilkins said. Town Council approved the construction in its meeting last Thursday.

The work will be done by Advanced Asphalt, which also repaved Donner Pass Road this summer.

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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