Highway 50 on the way to South Lake Tahoe will be closed for about two weeks in mid- to late April or into early May for the replacement of 72-year-old rock walls at Echo Summit.
Traffic going to South Lake Tahoe will be detoured east of Sacramento onto Highway 16 to Highway 49 to Jackson to Highway 88 to Highway 89, adding about 35 miles to the trip. You also can go to Placerville and then south on 49 to 88, but that’ll be longer.
Highway 50 will remain open as far east as the Sierra at Tahoe resort.
The $2.98 million project will be from the Caltrans Echo Summit maintenance station east 1.2 miles to Johnson Pass Road, replacing a deteriorating 18-inch tall rock wall with a 32-inch tall concrete barrier designed to look like a rock wall. In addition, crews will replace storm culverts, guard rails and damaged pavement and put down a 3-inch-thick asphalt overlay on the highway.
The exact start date will depend upon the weather, but Caltrans said it will begin as soon as possible after April 15 once at least 10 days of clear weather is forecast.
The new wall will be taller than the rock wall to improve safety — it’s the only thing keeping errant drivers from going over a sheer cliff.
After the two-week closure, construction crews may need up to 36 days of one-way traffic control to finish other parts of the project. To keep the project on track, crews will work 24/7 during the two-week closure and Mondays through noon on Fridays after that.
For more information, CLICK HERE for Caltrans website on the project.