Snow halts Echo Summit work, next 48 hours will determine opening date
ECHO SUMMIT, Calif.andamp;#8212; Storms have dropped nine inches of snow on the construction site on Echo Summit, a far cry from the clear weather crews had hoped for when they started work. But, as of Tuesday, the project remains on schedule and Highway 50 will be open by May 25, Deanna Shoopman, a Caltrans spokeswoman said Monday.andamp;#8220;The weather in conditions in the next 48 hours will determine the construction pace and the schedule of reopening the roads,andamp;#8221; Shoopman said.After halting Sunday night, crews cleared off the steam rollers, cranes and heavy machinery and resumed work Monday. After another halt Monday night, construction started again Tuesday morning. Workers continued to pour the concrete slabs that will stabilize the new barrier wall. Five of the seven sections of wall now have slab in place, a press release issued by Caltrans stated.The high winds are a major safety concern, Shoopman said. Workers have to wear safety harnesses while they work near the edge of the road way, she added.The cold weather will not affect the strength the recently poured concrete if certain precautions are taken, the release stated. Construction crews covered the new concrete with insulated blankets, making temperature a non-factor. Temperatures below 37 degrees will make it impossible to pour concrete though, Shoopman said.The National Weather Service is forecasting scattered snow showers, some thunder, and a high of 44 degrees for Wednesday and isolated showers and thunderstorms, mostly sunny conditions, and a high of 52 degrees for Thursday.Caltrans is maintaining a website, Way2Tahoe.com, with information about the project and the detour.As of Tuesday evening, chains were required on Highway 88 between Silver Lake and Kirkwood, a stretch of the Highway 50 detour.