California motorists will have to prepare for delays as CalTrans will begin the last leg of the Echo Summit Sidehill Viaduct Replacement Project, a major renovation project on Highway 50. The construction will take place 7 miles west of the city of South Lake Tahoe along U.S. Highway 50 near Echo Summit between September 13th– October 3rd, and focus on the demolition and replacement of the bridge in the area.
The new phase of construction will be broken into two main parts. From September 13th-September 18th, the stretch of Highway will be reduced to one-way traffic 24 hours a day as crews work to demolish the existing bridge. The second part will take place from September 19th– October 3rd. During the later stage of the project Highway 50 will be put into a full shutdown in the area.
The objective of the full shut down is to focus on safely installing new girders for the bridge. The project will see crews installing massive steel struts, called girders, perpendicular across the highway. These girders serve as the main horizontal support for girder bridges, and they hold up smaller beams that the surface of the bridge will be poured onto. The previous bridge was constructed in 1939 and it’s replacement had been prioritized as a part of the massive $54 Billion Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017.
The original schedule for the project had a September of 2019, launch date but was postponed to the following October before ultimately being shelved until next month. CalTrans announced that the postponement was because the seven new bridge girders needed for the $14.1 million project would not be ready in time for the original closure.
A detour route will be available by using State Routes 89, 88, 49 and 16. In addition to the previously mentioned detour regular commuters over Echo Summit who need to use Johnson Pass Road have been asked to submit applications for passes online at https://www.way2tahoe.com/jpr