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Kingsbury commuters want weather updates

Jeff Munson

When the snow flies, many Tahoe residents count on Reno television stations to give them the latest road conditions.

But one Kingsbury resident says Reno news stations regularly forget the road she and others count on the most – Kingsbury Grade.

“I’ve called the news stations before, hoping that they would include information for Kingsbury Grade, but they never have,” said Pam Bricker, manager of Tramway Market on upper Kingsbury.

For the past two years, she and her customers have noticed the three Reno TV stations will report chain-control measures for highways 50, 89, 28, 431 and Interstate 80, but always leave out Kingsbury Grade.

“A lot of people use Kingsbury for their commute. It would be nice to know whether it is open or closed, or if chains are required,” said Bricker, who has worked at the market for 16 years. “Most of the time, it’s customers or sheriff’s deputies who will tell me about the roads.”

Tramway Market at Daggett Summit has become somewhat of a intermediary for travelers, Bricker added. Motorists from Carson Valley to Lake Tahoe will call the store, asking for a weather report and if there are chain controls.

“People on their way home will stop in the store and give me a report, and I pass that along to whoever needs it,” she said.

About 12,000 motorists travel Kingsbury Grade daily, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation. During winter, up to eight snowplowers are responsible for keeping the road clear and reporting chain-control information to NDOT headquarters.

“I think you have three mountain highways out there that get a lot of traffic, and then you have Kingsbury that a lot of local people use that sometimes gets forgotten and shouldn’t,” said Scott Magruder, NDOT spokesman, acknowledging that he too has noticed that some stations routinely leave out Kingsbury Grade.

News directors for KRNV Channel 4 and KOLO Channel 8 admit the oversight and have vowed to broadcast Kingsbury road information. The news directors for KTVN Channel 2 and Sacramento station KCRA did not return phone calls.

“There is no one specific way we get weather information. Instead we build on everything that is available to us, whether it is NDOT, the Weather Service or our weather watchers,” said KRNV News Director Jon Killoran.

“Whenever a customer has a concern, we try to address it. I’m sure with our people this will be an easy fix.”

Timely road reports are a part of KOLO coverage and should be accurate and complete, said news director Jack Bowe.

“If we are not doing it consistently, we ought to be. We will make sure it is on the list,” he said.

Contact Jeff Munson at jmunson@tahoedailytribune.com.