The Nevada Department of Transportation has reopened U.S. 50 north of Cave Rock at Lake Tahoe to one lane of traffic in each direction following monolithic-size boulders which fell onto the roadway, according to a release Tuesday night.
Throughout last week, boulders larger than passenger vehicles fell from a roadside slope onto eastbound travel lanes. No vehicles were involved in the slides, and no injuries were reported. The rock fall occurred near Logan Creek Drive north of Cave Rock.
NDOT and contractor Sierra Nevada Construction have reduced travel lanes to one lane in each direction, with both directions of traffic shifted to westbound lanes away from the rock fall area. Travel speeds are reduced to 35 mph. The traffic shifts are anticipated to be semi-permanent until a full-scale improvement project to stabilize and reinforce the roadside slope where the slides occurred is constructed. Additional storms may also impact the ability to keep the roadway open.
Crews placed two rows of concrete barrier rail on the closed eastbound side of the roadway to help reduce chances of additional boulders sliding into traffic. Gravel has been placed behind the barrier rail to further diffuse and help prevent rock fall onto travel lanes.
NDOT has dedicated approximately $15 million to enhancing traffic safety by stabilizing roadside slopes to reduce rockslide and other erosion in U.S. 50 at Tahoe. The majority of U.S. 50 roadside slopes in the Glenbrook area have already been stabilized with rock fall netting or reinforced roadside slopes or have barrier rail/wall built at the bottom to contain and collect erosion-related rock fall. Last year, NDOT also extended the westbound, lakeside Cave Rock tunnel entrance. The new approximately 60-foot long and 27-foot tall structure extends the previous tunnel to enhance safety by catching rock fall before it reaches the roadway.
As heavy precipitation continues across the region, NDOT reminds motorists of the increased likelihood of rockslides, mudslides and avalanches in mountainous areas. Drivers are reminded to always drive safely and watch the road ahead. Updated state road conditions are available by logging onto nvroads.com or dialing 511 before driving.