POLLOCK PINES — When Highway 50 shuts down and there’s no alternate route to South Lake Tahoe travelers park and wait in communities like Pollock Pines.
Last week, traffic became more congested than usual for this time of year, with cars lined up bumper-to-bumper on narrow, snow-covered roads.
“There was nowhere we could go, we were stuck,” Hartnett said. “We either had to sit in the traffic three, four, five hours to get home.”
For people in the towns, things got pretty hectic.
“It was within less than an hour that traffic was just backed up bumper-to-bumper all the way down Pony Express,” said Tanya Capps.
It took locals several hours to navigate the crowds and get home.
“Extremely inconvenient. I saw multiple friends posting on Facebook that it took them five to seven hours to get home from work. It’s usually a 10-minute drive or less,” Capps said.
The traffic became so problematic that El Dorado County residents began calling for a solution.
“We can’t even get off the exit at times,” said Joseph Tilley.
A petition circulating the internet is calling to redirect traffic away from residential neighborhoods during intermittent highway closures.
“It just gets extremely congested. There’s vehicles parked up and down the entire road and then they’ll sit there,” Tilley told FOX40. “And they’ll pull off and they’ll wait and they’ll end up blocking everything. So and then none of us that live up here can get out. So we’re sitting here having to try to get them to get out of the way to get out.”
They hope to cut down on tourist traffic and make travel around town hassle-free.
The petition also aims to change the way GPS apps re-route drivers in order to steer them away from residential areas when major highways close.
“We never want that to happen again,” Hartnett said. “I’ve been up here 18 years and have never seen anything like it.”
The petition is going to be sent to both county and transportation officials. A meeting to discuss the petition and brainstorm potential solutions will be held in March.