Full Highway 50 Closure at Echo Summit Delayed

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Route 88 is one of the detours Caltrans has planned for a bridge replacement project that will close Highway 50 at Echo Summit for two weeks.

Herman Huppart and dozens of others came to a meeting Wednesday with questions for Caltrans about work to put a span meeting current seismic standards in place of what's served the area since 1939.

Most of the concern was about how to apply for passes to use Johnson Pass Road for those who will be very close to the construction or need to have themselves or customers pass over the summit during the closure.

Caltrans said they realize the inconvenience ahead as the calendar slips into a time when there might be a little snow in the area.

"In order to get the equipment up there for this final part of the project, it's not feasible to keep the highway open,” said Steve Nelson with Caltrans District 3.

From Sacramento State Route 16 eastbound to Highway 49 to State Route 88 and State Route 89 is the established detour. Work that list in reverse if you're headed to Sacramento from South Lake Tahoe.

Since they know there's no way to avoid the hassle ahead, people will have more time to close up their cabins and get their boats down before there's a 25-foot length and 8,000-pound weight limit for vehicles on Johnson Pass Road.

The closure for the Echo Summit Sidehill Viaduct Project was supposed to start mid-September.

"We're actually now moving the target date for the closure to mid-October because we've had some delays in getting the bridge girders that we need," Nelson explained.

Caltrans is planning to launch a big public education campaign as the date of the closure nears.

More material delays could also move the start of the full closure and poor weather could impact timing as well.

The project will not be complete when the closure is over but the remaining work can be accomplished while traffic is flowing.


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