PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — A partial closure of Highway 50 toward Lake Tahoe has both drivers and businesses on edge.
Caltrans says the closure will block a half-mile stretch between Placerville and “the Y” in South Lake Tahoe.
Detours are now are in place, and people are expecting major delays. The work on the bridge at Echo Summit was supposed to kick off on October 18th.
Construction has now been delayed by a year. Read more here: Highway 50 Closure At Echo Summit Postponed
The detour itself is only a half-mile of the road, on each end of Johnson Pass Road. But, there’s worry the closure will be both a traffic nightmare and bad news for surrounding businesses.
Debbie Jiminez with MattyWags in Placerville is preparing for her business to see losses come October.
“It’s definitely going to bring a damper to our town,” she said. “It’s a bad time of year to be doing this.”
For two weeks, the project will rebuild Echo Summit Bridge on each end of Johnson Pass Road. Jiminez says it will take drivers on lengthy detours on windy roads and away from Main Street, Placerville.
“It’s really disappointing to hear this will take place during prime season for merchants,” said Jiminez.
Jimenz says those two weeks fall directly on the peak time for nearby Apple Hill. It’s where people go for all things fall-related.
Caltrans suggests drivers take detours. From Sacramento, take 80 east to Truckee, then take Highway 267 and 28 along Lake Tahoe’s east shore. If you’re coming from Placerville take Highway 49 south, And 88 east to Picketts Junction, then 89 to South Lake Tahoe.
Caltrans says the detours will add an additional 90 minutes from both Placerville and from Sacramento.
Drivers we spoke with say traffic around Placerville is already bad enough, and these projects tend to run longer than promised.
“It’s kind of like when you know there’s a relative that says they’ll be there on time, but you know they’re always late,” said one driver.
Thursday is the second of two meetings about an upcoming closure on Highway 50. They’ll hope to address some of these concerns from neighbors and businesses.