Despite protests that closing Kingsbury at the summit for a month will cost Carson Valley tourism businesses millions, the state is going ahead with a plan expected to shorten construction time on the main link between Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe.
Work to replace pavement between Highway 50 and Daggett Summit, four miles in all, will begin tonight, and continue 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday until May 1, with flaggers and short delays, the Nevada Department of Transportation announced on Friday. Construction will start between Logging Road and Pine Ridge.
Nice weather will give construction workers a head start before Kingsbury Grade is closed at the top on May 1.
Between May 1 and 23, Valley motorists will have to take Highway 395 north to Highway 50 in order to reach Stateline.
From Minden, Stateline is 17 miles away over Kingsbury Grade, but 33 miles over Spooner Summit. Because Spooner is four lanes the entire way, the trip time would be 45 minutes, compared to 27 minutes over Kingsbury.
A longer route is to take Highway 88 south to Hope Valley and then Highway 89 to South Lake Tahoe.
Transportation officials pointed out that delays could be up to 30 minutes with a more traditional road closure method. Tourism officials argued that many visitors to Carson Valley come from Lake Tahoe.
Kingsbury residents and businesses will have access along the grade during the entire 200-day construction period, but won’t be able to take Kingsbury to the Valley until the summit reopens on May 23.
Night work will resume until after Labor Day, when the summit will close again. It will reopen when weather halts roadwork for the winter. The final two months of work will take place May and June 2015, with the summit closed during the first month, in order to meet the construction deadline of July 4, 2015.
The state approved a $14.9 million contract to entirely strip the roadway from Highway 50 to the summit.
According to Project Manager Pedro Rodriquez, the work includes taking the pavement down 13 inches to the ground, making water quality improvements, mitigating natural springs, safety improvements at the intersection with Tramway and lights along the highway.
The highway will be open for emergency and scheduled bus service, but not individual motorists. Commuters will be able to take BlueGo between Carson Valley to Stateline.
For more information, visit the website set up for the project at www.kingsburyproject.com.