TTD steering loop road project to completion


The city-county street looping to the left behind the casinos may one day be Highway 50. Photo/Provided

The city-county street looping to the left behind the casinos may one day be Highway 50. Photo/Provided

By Kathryn Reed

Planning for the South Shore’s loop road is nearing the finish line, with no intention of going to the voters even if that were a possibility.

Carl Hasty, executive director for the Tahoe Transportation District – the lead agency for the project, believes between the information that has been provided and the future opportunities for the public to weigh in that people have had ample opportunity to voice their opinions.

This bi-state agency, if it were to get the go-ahead from the California and Nevada departments of transportation, could reroute Highway 50 behind Harrah’s Lake Tahoe and MontBleu casinos and turn the current highway into a city street without South Lake Tahoe’s blessing. TTD is a federal entity that has a higher level of authority than a city or county.

The City Council could put an advisory question to voters asking if they want the loop road or not. The outcome, though, would not be a mandate. The council could still support or not support the project, and TTD doesn’t have to listen to the voters or the council.

It could hurt TTD if the council were to come out against the project because it would likely make it more difficult to get federal funding.

And if eminent domain were needed to acquire property, TTD would need the city to make that happen. It would take four out of the five council members to reverse current policy that bans the use of eminent domain.

The goal of TTD is to turn just more than a mile of the current Highway 50 at the state line into a road managed by South Lake Tahoe and Douglas County, and make the current local street behind the casinos into a highway. The purpose is to make the commercial area more walkable and inviting.

Hasty did not know if the realignment would save drivers time. The focus is on flow. He also could not tell Lake Tahoe News what the speed limits on the respective roads might be. Today there are four traffic lights on Highway 50 in the stretch that will be affected. The new route would have two, at Heavenly Way and Harrah’s.

Tuesday night was the most recent opportunity for people to give input. More than 100 people spent time Dec. 1 at Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel looking at the five alternatives, including one to do nothing. People were asked based on the exhibits what they thought of the possibility of affordable housing, mixed use buildings, gateway features, site options and if they had any general comments to make.

Mike Riley has been listening to the loop road talk for 20 years. He called Tuesday’s presentation the best he has seen to date. He supports the concept, but is worried about the people who would be displaced, and wonders who will be responsible for the upkeep of the trail from MontBleu to Van Sickle Bi-State Park.

Mark Cuthright has driven Lake Parkway-Montreal Road (the roads that could become a federal highway) after it snows. The grade makes it sketchy, he said. He questions the logic of having people on that stretch of road instead of the flat and straight highway of today.

For Dave Kurtzman, he likes the mix of affordable housing, and the possibility of getting federal money to make it a reality.

For all of this to come to fruition as TTD envisions, no properties on the Nevada side would be adversely affected. On the California side it’s a completely different story. Multiple residences and businesses would be bulldozed, likely starting before the current easterly intersection of Highway 50 and Pioneer Trail in South Lake Tahoe and then going back toward Montreal Road.

Mike McKeen, who owns the property where Naked Fish and Powder House are located, was initially a staunch opponent of project, going so far as to create signs saying as much that were outside the businesses. Today he is a proponent, envisioning a revamping of his property.

His biggest concern now is where people will park if the new commercial and residential structures are built.

For Hasty, what he likes is the evolution of the plan into what he calls a true community revitalization project.

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Notes:

·      South Lake Tahoe City Council will get an update on the project Dec. 7. The meeting at Lake Tahoe Airport starts at 9am.

·      There will be an open house Jan. 26 from 5-7pm at Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel.

·      The draft environmental studies are expected to be released in the first quarter of 2016. People will have 60 days to comment.

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Comments (20)
  1. David DeWitt says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    Bend over here it comes.

  2. Liberule says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    This is the beginning of the end for this town. Mark my words. At least we’ll have more construction workers to hurl insults at. That’s always fun.

  3. Atomic says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    Get it done. Get the Feds to pay for it, it’s a federal highway. No brainer.

    ….let ‘The Sky if Falling!’ begin……….yawn

  4. Robin Smith says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    FORCE A VOTE AND SETTLE IT ONCE AND FOR ALL!

  5. Lou pierini says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    No relocation plan, no money and no ability to aguire property from unwilling sellers, I say its a long way from completion. Oh by the way, does this road increase lake clarity? Does it reduce VMTs? Reduce exhaust emmisions? If the answers are No, what’s the point Mr. Hasty?

  6. reloman says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    Robin if you read the article, you woild understand that The feds and Caltrans dont have to abide by a local vote.

  7. Nic Lighter says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    Loop road is a pointless waste of funding. Improve vehicular circulation by removing a few traffic lights. Upgrade pedestrian zone by providing incentives to business. But to spend 20 plus million for a project that can’t be justified will never happen. TTD has not demonstrated an ability to compile effective projects since its inception.

  8. Les Wright says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    The 150 homes-apartments that will be demolished ARE low cost housing right now. When rebuilt they will be expensive affordable housing compared to the rent paid now.

    Using the excuse that affordable housing will be built is an excuse to get the project built.

    In case you didn’t see it, here is what I wrote last week.

    “Regarding the Stateline loop road project. I personally don’t like the loop road concept of moving traffic around the casinos, uprooting business and people from their homes. And by realigning Highway 50 after tearing town homes for the move, you now have the remaining homes that were in a quiet setting now next to the new Highway 50. It doesn’t seem like the right thing to do.

    I would prefer we spend the money and do the job right. In my opinion the right way to do it is to put through traffic underground starting somewhere around Tahoe Meadows and exiting before Kingsbury Grade.

    That would mean cutting through the Harrah’s to Harveys pedestrian underpass for the underground Highway 50 road. The casinos should then be given permission for pedestrian overpasses between Harveys and Harrah’s, and MontBleu and Hard Rock.

    I’m told it will cost more and realize it will be an inconvenience to build, but in the long run it would be the best solution. The old Highway 50 would become an open mall between Park Avenue and the eastern loop and I think that is the desired outcome.

    Caltrans and NDOT would have to come up with the money. It would take some good planning and good politicians to get this project built.”

    Les Wright

  9. Robin Smith says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    relo… RCI

    I read the article and there plenty of ‘IF’s’.

  10. Knows the time.... says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    It is going to happen so quit crying about it. Little old Tahoe hasn’t existed in quite awhile anyway. Onward…………..

  11. Lou pierini says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    Where are the 300 to 500 displaced by this project going to live? New affordable housing? When?

  12. Chief Slowroller says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    I was there last night old Carl Hasty told me they do not have the money, they did not get the Tiger fund money they were counting on.

    he also told me that they are hoping for private developers to help with the funding.

    if you looked at the utopian drawings of the future all of Moss, Fern and Echo are bulldozed and Resort bldg.’s are in their place.

    it’s interesting that the folks who run the Town can get the TTD to be their Lacky’s

  13. Isee says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    I doubt that the people who would be displaced have a representative in this process. Bruce Grego is right about these get-togethers replacing an actual citizen survey or vote. It’s the new trend. If you can’t be there- you probably didn’t matter to begin with. Giant Joke.

  14. southie says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    Of all of the proposals, I like Les Wright’s the best. While it may appear to be a high cost proposal, how much will be spent on litigation over acquiring all of the needed properties for the alternatives, and how many years will that delay any project (which will also increase the cost in today’s dollars). Les’s plan appears to minimize the amount of red tape that needs to be cut as it doesn’t require the extent of the involvement by all of various gov’t agencies that the other plans do.

    What prevents the complexity of the other plans from becoming yet another “hole in the ground” for 20 years before the project is finally finished?

    Thanks for speaking up, Les!

  15. Steven says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    Instead of bulldozing, the re-route should start at Park Ave, going between the village and Raleys.

    This is where the overpass would be built for pedestrians.

    The current hwy 5o should be blocked at Park Ave all the way to the Casinos and beyond to Edgewood, where the loop road would be.

    Make the loop road one-way, counter clockwise, this way no road widening would be needed and it would keep a great flow of traffic going.

    An easy trial of the one-way loop road could be done with some cement barriers and a few signs, give it a try before spending 10’s of millions of dollars.

  16. J says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    OK folks, time to take matters in our own hands, it’s time to contact the Capital and take this out of control madness to who can do something about it. Let the US Government clean up house here regarding these nut job arrogant, incapable and incompetent local politicians and officials. Now there are some very sharp people on this site that are well read and armed with bona fide real world knowledge, I’m not one of them, but I’m not ignorant either. However I had seen enough twisted flat out bizarre abortions implemented by local officials since 1966, I’m willing to help anyway I can. While we are at it lets get the Capital involved with the Tahoe Keys nightmare killing Lake Tahoe. You know I can go on and on, call me what you will, but I love this Lake and all her surroundings, but these crazy local officials are ruining every natural fiber of this great wildness area known as Lake Tahoe!
    Who’s on board?

  17. Tahoebluewire says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    GOOD

  18. Cranky Gerald says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    CAPITOL J

    and I agree

  19. Elvis says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    Steven, fantastic idea! Displays use of common sense. But it would not displace lots of poor people or create new profit opportunities, so maybe it is not a great idea?

  20. Dub says - Posted: December 2, 2015

    If it weren’t for “the hole” the community might have more faith in the success of a project of this magnitude.