The Tahoe Transportation District Board of Directors recommends advancing five alternatives that have been developed for the U.S. 50/South Shore Community Revitalization Project (Loop Road) to the environmental analysis stage.
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“We made the recommendation to ensure a range of options are thoroughly examined for the greater benefit to the community while providing an opportunity for contrast,” said Mark Rayback, project engineer. “Additional alternatives resulted from the public outreach process and need to be reviewed to meet environmental safety and economic goals before a decision on the project can be made.”
Existing U.S. 50 within the project area is approximately 1.1 miles long and stretches from Pioneer Trail in California to Lake Parkway in Nevada. The majority of the proposed alternatives include the reclassification of the existing U.S. Highway 50 from a federal highway to a local street along its present route. U.S. 50 would be realigned outside of the commercial core. This would allow for local area control and the development of a “main street” district. The project proposes to construct the infrastructure necessary to facilitate the development of main street district within the public right of way. The project would address traffic and allow for complete street improvements to provide the public with alternatives to driving.
TTD staff recommended the following five alternatives to the board:
• Triangle Alternative — Generated from public input forums and requested by the South Lake Tahoe City Council. The alternative moves the U.S. 50/Pioneer Trail intersection further southwest than Alternative 2. The existing U.S. 50 alignment would become a local street.
• Triangle One-Way Alternative — Follows the same alignment as the “Triangle Alternative” except in the core area it is narrowed to two lanes eastbound only and would be designated U.S. 50 East. The southern or mountain side alignment would be two westbound lanes and designated U.S. 50 West. The existing U.S. 50 alignment would not become a local street.
• Alternative 2 — Would realign U.S. 50 around the Stateline casino corridor between Lake Parkway and a location southwest of Pioneer Trail. The existing U.S. 50 alignment would become a local street.
• Skywalk Alternative — Proposes an elevated concrete decked pedestrian mall above the existing U.S. 50 from the California/Nevada state line to approximately the eastern entrance of Horizon Casino and MontBleu Resort and Casino. With this plan U.S. 50 would remain the same. This alternative was developed from public recommendations and at the request of the South Lake Tahoe City Council. The council requested an alternative that required little to no right-of-way acquisition.
• Alternative 1 — The no project/no build alternative is a requirement for all projects of this nature. It allows decision makers to compare the impacts of approving the proposed project to the impacts of no action.
Completion of environmental analysis and the project approval documentation is needed to fund the next phase of project development for the U.S. 50/South Shore Community Revitalization Project.
The EIS/EIR (Environmental Impact Study/Review) will take up to 18 months for completion. Once the environmental technical studies and the draft EIS/EIR are completed the Draft EIS/EIR will circulate for no less than 60 days for public and agency review and comment. After all comments are incorporated and/or responded to, a preferred alternative will be selected and the Final EIS/EIR will be considered for certification and approval by TRPA (TRPA Approval), the Federal Highway Administration (NEPA approval), and the Tahoe Transportation District Board (CEQA approval). When the preferred alternative is approved and the environmental document is certified then TTD can proceed with final design and right-of-way acquisition.
The TTD is currently guiding multiple projects providing lake wide connectivity throughout the Tahoe Basin to improve safety, mobility and lake clarity while reducing traffic congestion.
The East Shore Express, a pilot Park and Ride bus service from Incline Village to Sand Harbor Beach State Recreation Area, generated 12,155 rides between June 15 and Labor Day last summer. TTD also partnered with the United States Forest Service, Nevada Division of State Parks, Nevada Department of Transportation, Nevada Highway Patrol and Washoe County School District on the project.
The Incline Gateway, the Tahoe Basin’s first roundabout at Mount Rose Highway where State Route 28 meets SR 431, was officially dedicated on October 17, 2012. The public/private partnership included cooperative efforts with the Nevada Department of Transportation, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Washoe County, Incline Village General Improvement District, Q&D Construction, and the Incline Gateway Committee, the public art organization that commissioned local artist June Towill Brown to create bronze replicas of native animals.
The first mile of America’s Most Beautiful Bikeway-South Demonstration Project was completed in the October 2012. The 3.2-mile route between Stateline and Round Hill is part of an eventual 30-plus mile segment of the Nevada Stateline to Stateline Bikeway along the east shore.
SR 89/Fanny Bridge Community Revitalization Project is exploring alternatives to enhance the Tahoe City community while preserving a piece of its history and easing extreme traffic congestion.
For details on Tahoe Transportation District and its current projects, visit TahoeTransportation.org or call 775-589-5500.