For the past year or so, Tahoe City has witnessed and endured the construction and implementation of three new roundabouts. Coming from Truckee on 89 South from Squaw Valley, the first (#1) is situated just beyond the Tahoe City Lumber yard, where it connects with the new bridge across the Truckee River. The second (#2) round-about is nearing completion on the other side of the Truckee River, south of the “wye” (the stop light intersection), after The Bridgetender Bar and Restaurant, before Granlibakken Road. The third (#3) round-about will go in where the current light is in town (that’s right, our town still has only ONE stop light). The new road from the southern roundabout (#2) connects to the first roundabout (#1) on Highway 89, across the new bridge! The bridge looks exactly as the renditions predicted it would look! How about that! I have gathered the following photos and information from the Project website. Some of the photos are my own.
The goal of this project is to divert the north and west shore traffics to their respective destinations, rather than all through one intersection. Hopefully that actually occurs. The age-old adage is that there are two seasons in Tahoe, “winter” and “construction” season. We shall see! As of now, we’ve had constant traffic controls from the construction project. Some mornings 20+ minutes just sitting there! Luckily, according to the project website, lane closures are only allowed 8 pm to 9 am! Night work only occurs during the work week.
The Central Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration (CFLHD-FHWA) is the lead agency for construction and Martin Brothers Construction is under contract to complete the work. Construction finally started in May 2018. The Tahoe City Trout Sculpture was dismantled in 2018 and is in storage until it can be relegated to a new location. Evidently there’s some discussion about where it should go. Members of the project delivery team, along with executives from the North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, had numerous meetings over several years with the artist in an effort to secure a prominent location in the project area to relocate the statue. Evidently, the intent from the time the project was resurrected in 2011, approved in 2015 and to the start of construction in 2017 was, and is, to find a prominent location within the project area to continue to showcase the statue to the community and to visitors. At this time, efforts to secure a new location are ongoing. When you come into Tahoe, the first thing I’d love for visitors (and locals alike!) to see is the beautiful big Lake. After all, it is our namesake and the #1 reason we’re here. If the old fire station and Vernon Building were removed, the welcoming panoramas of Lake Tahoe would be outstanding. I’m all for that, and it would tie in nicely with the new development at the location of the old Hendrickson Building.
- An old sewer line has been replaced on the east side of 89, between the wye (Bridgetender) and the new roundabout.
- The construction plan for 2019 is to complete the realignment of SR 89, the new Truckee River Bridge and the two roundabouts on either end of the realignment. As of the writing of this article (Oct 14th, this is currently in the works)
- Due to high water levels in Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River as a result of this winter’s above average heavy snow and rainfall, the project construction start date didn’t start until mid July. Of course.
- The rebuild of Fanny Bridge will not take place during the 2019 construction season. Evidently there was some argument between Martin Brothers and the government. Of course.
- Work at the Tahoe City Wye was going to start around August/Sept 2019. This still hasn’t started.
- Completion of the SR 89 realignment, the new Truckee River Bridge, and the two roundabouts on either end of the realignment (one on West Lake Blvd. and the other east of the Caltrans Maintenance Yard on SR 89 heading into Tahoe City from Truckee) is planned for the end of this year, 2019.
- The new gateway signage is up! It is quite big. And oddly enough, while the roundabout is a CIRCLE, there’s only a message on one side. How about those of us leaving Tahoe City?? How about a “thank you for visiting?” Curious.. The signs are so big and so well illuminated, as opposed to the lighting of the street that I almost drove right into the sign I was staring at it so hard!
They will be landscaping the roundabouts nicely, and in fact have started to do so on the westerly roundabout, by the TC lumber yard and Caltrans station. Nice little fir trees! But no word on lighting,