Highway 50 reopens; fire evacuees return home | NevadaAppeal.com

Highway 50 reopens; fire evacuees return home

Susan Wood

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – Highway 50 opened Wednesday afternoon, allowing Silver Fork-area residents back into their homes and eastbound tourists and commerce into the Sierra Nevada.

The major artery linking South Lake Tahoe to the western world has been a hotbed of activity from Meyers to Pollock Pines during a week filled with fire, mud and snow.

Geologists and hydrologists surveyed the area to determine the safety of reopening it, and Caltrans cleared the debris.

El Dorado County sheriff’s Lt. Kevin House said no major slides were reported on the highway, and Silver Fork and Kyburz residents were allowed back in their homes an hour before the road opened at 4 p.m.

“This is good news for everybody. We didn’t want to be going into the weekend with this hanging over us,” said Sue Barton, acting director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.

There was a concern the perception of Lake Tahoe being too much of a mess to negotiate could hurt the tourism trade, especially from the Bay area.

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Business and civic leaders as well as distributors have been coping with being isolated as a result of the 7,700-acre Fred fire.

Beyond wanting the road reopened, a team led by Mayor Tom Davis asked Caltrans to have the Mormon Emigrant Trail plowed as an alternative in case a harsh winter causes major mud- or snow slides.

The route, which is owned by the U.S. Forest Service, veers off Highway 50 east of Placerville from the Sly Park exit.