No Kingsbury Grade closure planned for spring
Work on Kingsbury Grade during this summer was so successful there are no plans to close the grade next spring.
Project Manager Pedro Martinez confirmed on Wednesday the Nevada Department of Transportation doesn’t anticipate closing the main route between Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe.
“It’s beyond good,” Carson Valley Visitors Bureau Director A.J. Frels said. “It’s fantastic they were able to get it done early and we’re not looking at a closing in the spring.”
Frels said he’s talked to Carson Valley’s tourism businesses and they all felt the effect of the highway being closed.
“We’re thrilled,” he said. “The closure had a huge impact on tourism. Many of our visitors come from Northern California. They come over Kingsbury to the Valley. Even people from the Lake will come down and explore.”
That’s one of the reasons the bureau is marketing to people who are staying at Lake Tahoe. Frels said they’ve printed 125,000 new rack cards to place at locations around Tahoe to let people know what’s available in Carson Valley.
“It’s all about convenience and the ease of getting people where they want to go,” he said.
Frels thanked Martinez and Q&D Construction for being good to work with as the process evolved.
“We appreciate their efforts,” he said.
Motorists still will face delays of up to 30 minutes while other work is being completed over the next few weeks, transportation spokeswoman Meg Ragonese said.
With work to resume in spring, the barrier that sat at the summit during most of May and September this year isn’t expected to return.
“The primary reason we were able to complete the major roadway reconstruction work in early October is the fact that residents, businesses and the entire community understood the importance of the project and the fact that we could complete the project much more quickly with the through traffic closures this spring and fall,” Ragonese said.
Because the highway was closed at the summit, major work of stripping four miles of mountain road down to the base and repaving it took half the time.
Essentially, by limiting the amount of traffic, crews were able to increase the amount of work they were able to complete compared to what they would have accomplished without a through-traffic closure, she said. “As an example, contractor Q&D was able to break the major roadway reconstruction and repaving work into three stages, instead of the four stages that would be needed without a traffic closure. That alone saved valuable time that would have otherwise been needed for staging and moving traffic control and equipment through an additional construction phase.”
Ragonese extended the state’s thanks to those who were patient during the closure.
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency permitted some work to take place overnight.
“Businesses in the residential area of Kingsbury were also very understanding of the night work,” she said. “And we were lucky in that there were no major weather impacts to the project.”