Kingsbury Grade remains closed
June 21, 2006
STATELINE – Kingsbury Grade between Kingsbury Summit and the Carson Valley floor remains closed today, and perhaps for the several days, because of the potential for a rock slide, according to Nevada Department of Transportation.
The road was closed Wednesday morning when an NDOT survey determined a section of rock had moved, causing instability. More than 5,500 cars travel on the road daily.
Officials have not yet determined how long the closure will run, but NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder said the goal is to have the road open by the Fourth of July weekend.
NDOT will hire a contractor to clear the danger area.
The area is uphill from the roadway, approximately four miles east of the Kingsbury summit, and seven miles west of Highway 206, Foothill Road. No homes are threatened.
“We realize this closure is an inconvenience to commuters and motorists, but we do not want to compromise safety,” NDOT Director Jeff Fontaine said in a news release.
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The department expects to have an estimate for re-opening once it has hired an emergency contractor.
“Basically, we are trying to avert a potentially dangerous situation,” Magruder said.
With traffic from the Carson Valley cutoff, motorists will have to use Highway 50 over Spooner Summit or Highway 89 over Luther Pass as alternative routes. Motorists should leave 30 minutes earlier so that they arrive at their destination, NDOT advises.
A large portion of Lake Tahoe’s casino work force lives in Carson Valley and commutes via Kingsbury Grade.
While the timing of the road closure is troublesome as Lake Tahoe enters its busiest time of the year, the inconvenience to employees and employers remains a concern.
“There is never a good time for this to happen,” said Kathy Farrell, executive director of the Tahoe Douglas Chamber of Commerce. “Fortunately, it is not the major artery, but it is critical because of our work force.”
With four lanes of traffic on Highway 50, the highway should be able to handle the additional congestion, Magruder said.
Spooner Summit has about 15,000 motorists on it each day.