Highway 50 realignment high on list of Tahoe improvements
An environmental impact study is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2016 for a proposal to realign Highway 50 around the Stateline casino corridor.
According to the Tahoe Transportation District, the Highway 50 South Shore Revitalization Project would move Highway 50 near the state line with four lanes along Lake Parkway east behind Harrah’s, MontBleu and the former Crescent V Shopping Center, while converting the artery through the Stateline casino and South Lake Tahoe business corridors into two lanes with turn pockets. The two highways would reconnect at Pioneer Trail in California.
The project is just one being overseen by the district around Lake Tahoe.
“Providing dependable, safe, affordable, environmentally friendly and easy to use transportation that connects communities throughout the Basin is essential to the economic health of the Lake Tahoe region,” said Carl Hasty, district manager for the district.
The district board of directors approved an eight-year plan connecting lakewide communities and Truckee along Highway 50 at South Shore and 1-80 at Truckee.
Bringing the goal to fruition will involve collaboration with Tahoe Area Regional Transit operated by Placer County and ongoing involvement from the communities to be served. The goals include completion of projects and bike trails like the approved SR 89 Fanny Bridge Community Revitalization Project, US 50 South Shore Community Revitalization Project, and the All-season Crosslake Passenger Ferry, presently under consideration.
Earlier this month, the district announced a major step with a five-year annual federal funding formula to support the local transit system and sustainable transit services for residents, visitors and commuters.
To determine the optimal implementation strategy, district board members and staff have conducted extensive interviews from communities in similar regions including San Mateo, San Luis Obispo, Monterey-Salinas, Placer County and Contra Costa. Findings demonstrate that a thriving transit system adds public value to the region through environmental improvement and protection of Lake Tahoe, enhancements to economic vitality and contributions to the overall quality of life.
A previous study indicates that over 70 percent of the particulates impacting Lake Tahoe’s famed water clarity originate from the transportation system and land development. Vehicles are also a major source of emissions that pollute the air and fuel algae growth in the Lake.
The district board recently approved a series of actions that will lead to directly operating transit in South Lake Tahoe with a target date of Nov. 1, 2016. Local management will result in consistent service and routes, as well as operational and budgetary efficiencies.
“The board believes this is the right direction we should be going to contribute to a successful resort region,” said Board of Directors Chairman Steve Teshara. “(The district) was created to provide strategic oversight, execute long-term planning, and deliver a transit system and mobility improvements around the Basin. We look forward to working with many partners to accomplish these goals.”