Starting Thursday, Kingsbury Grade will be closed at the summit for 23 days as work begins in earnest on repaving the Lake Tahoe side.
Q&D Construction Project Engineer Will Morgan said closing the highway at the summit will reduce traffic that pavers have to deal with while working to replace four miles of mountain roadway from Highway 50 to the Daggett Summit.
While Carson Valley residents will have to go around to get to Stateline, residents and businesses on the western portion of Kingsbury Grade will continue to have access.
Morgan said reducing the amount of traffic is critical to the success of a plan to cut the work time on Kingsbury Grade in half.
“If we leave the road open, we’ll have to stop work and button up the road for a half hour every time we have to let traffic through,” he said. “By reducing the overall traffic, we can get done faster.”
Work will stop at some point on the afternoon of May 23 for the Memorial Day weekend. Then night work will begin on May 27 and last through the summer until Sept. 2, when the barrier east of Tramway Drive will go back up after Labor Day.
Work on the grade will begin at the bottom, and will consist of taking up one lane at a time. Night work will start roughly at 8 p.m. and wrap up at 6:30 a.m. every day, though those times may be adjusted based on the traffic patterns. Morgan said workers will take up one lane at a time in 2.5-inch layers so there isn’t too steep a difference between the lanes. At driveways and intersections the pavement will be feathered to reduce the drop.
Morgan said work will continue until Sept. 26, when the closure will be lifted for Candy Dance weekend, Sept. 27-28. After Candy Dance Kingsbury may again be closed at the summit depending on the weather until as late as Oct. 15.
Morgan said the grade will be open through the winter until the May 1, 2015, when the process starts over again.
The goal is to complete the work by July 4, 2015. Only 200 days construction have been approved for the project.
Signs announcing the status of roadwork on Kingsbury will be up at a variety of locations around the Valley and at Lake Tahoe.
Commuter and shuttles buses will be allowed past the summit barrier, as will emergency vehicles.