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Tahoe Roadway Projects Aim To Improve Lake Water Clarity

Ky Plaskon / Capital Public Radio
 

Ky Plaskon / Capital Public Radio

Five hundred million dollars in road and water-quality improvements are underway on the California side of Lake Tahoe.

Half of $500 million dollars in road improvements on the California side of Lake Tahoe will be completed this year.

Drivers on the west shore are encountering delays at project after project this summer. Unlike most roadwork this isn’t being done to widen the road or make it smoother. It’s primarily to improve the clarity of the lake. The new roads are designed to collect storm water and filter out pollution in 30-by-60-foot sand pits.

Steve Nelson with CalTrans says its not clear how well it's working.

“Its hard to say, I know we are testing some of the drainage features that are already in place," says Nelson. "We are testing those and we already showing improvements but I don’t really have a hard figure on what we are looking at.”

Of the 15 projects envisioned 22 years ago, six are complete, five are underway, two will carry over to next year and the last four should be complete by 2019. By then CalTrans will have worked on more than 80 miles of road. It’s paid for with 80 percent federal funds and the rest is state and local.

“Take the storm water run off that are coming off our highways and filter it and then discharge it into the lake to improve lake clarity," says Nelson.

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