On camera, but why?
By Jamie BateMotorists at the Donner Pass Road and Highway 89 north intersection are being caught in living color by a trio of video cameras. But who is doing the taping and why, it seems, is a bit of a mystery.We’ve called pretty much every agency we know, from Caltrans and the CHP at the state level to Public Works and Truckee PD at the town level, and nobody seems to know who owns the cameras. My guess is the lenses mounted on a roadside post and accompanied by a few sensors stuck to the asphalt in the middle of the road belong to Caltrans.But the friendly public information officer at Caltrans’ District Three office in Marysville didn’t have any public information to dispense about the cameras.Now, if you drive in that area often you know that making a left onto Highway 89 north from Donner Pass Road can take a little while, particularly at about 5 p.m on a weekday or on a busy summer weekend afternoon.Every once in a while I have visions of being T-boned by a lifted, meaty-tired DodgePowerRamCumminsDieselTurboBehemoth pulling a fifth-wheel Air Stream trailer at 75 mph as I try to turn onto the highway in an effort to get home. The driver of said over-powered mobile homestead is likely coming from a “camping” trip somewhere out in the forest and is thinking of getting home himself. But since this isn’t summer, my nightmare won’t get caught by the “mystery cameras,” unless I get hit by a lifted, meaty-tired DodgePowerRamCumminsDieselTurboBehemoth pulling a trailer full of snowmobiles.So I’m hoping whoever is doing the taping is collecting data in order to make a decision on whether or not the intersection needs a stoplight or – as far as the Town of Truckee is concerned – a roundabout.Now I’m not sure what’s in store for the 89 north-DPR intersection, but just down the road at Alder Drive and Prosser Dam Road is another white-knuckle turn situation. Actually, it’s only exciting for drivers wanting to turn left off Highway 89 north on to Alder – and that is everyone dropping their children off at the new middle school and the residents of Prosser Heights – me included – Pine Forest and the soon-to-be bustling Gray’s Crossing.It’s no fun sitting exposed in the middle of the highway trying to turn left and having speeding cars, trucks and DodgePowerRamCumminsDieselTurboBehemoths bearing down on you. At least the locals know there is just enough room on the right at Prosser Dam Road to rip by.I’d suggest to the mysterious camera people that that is the spot for some harrowing footage. But that may not be needed, as I’m pretty sure a roundabout is planned for 89 north and Prosser Dam Road once the main part of Gray’s Crossing gets going.In the meantime, smile for the camera because we don’t know who is watching – or why.Jamie Bate is the editor of the Sierra Sun. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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