Image source: Nevada DOT
The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) has substantially completed a project to enhance traveler safety and roadside water quality on U.S. 50 in the Cave Rock area of Lake Tahoe nearly one month ahead of schedule.
All U.S. 50 travel lanes through Cave Rock are now open. Since the project's start in May, traffic had previously been reduced to one lane in each direction through the Cave Rock tunnel.
The project extended the westbound, lakeside Cave Rock tunnel entrance. The new approximately 60-ft long and 27-ft tall structure will extend the existing tunnel to enhance safety by catching rock fall before it reaches the roadway. The tunnel extension replicates natural colors, patterns and textures to match the existing rock face. Lighting and white paint were added inside each tunnel for better visibility and two new radar-activated overhead signs installed to automatically notify drivers of bicyclists or potentially icy conditions in the tunnels.
U.S. 50 lanes through both tunnels and the roadway median between Cave Rock and the Cave Rock State Park boat launch entrance were also paved. In addition, water quality improvements such as enhanced roadside drainage inlets and sediment filtration systems were installed along U.S. 50 from one mile to four miles north of Cave Rock.
The approximately $6 million project by contractor Q&D Construction was completed more than 20 working days ahead of schedule. Warranty testing of newly installed electronic signage will continue over coming weeks, with limited travel impacts on motorists.
According to NDOT, during the winter of 2014-2015 heavy rains loosened boulders from the rock face above the Cave Rock tunnel, with some of the boulders reaching the roadway. Rock fall reduction and slope stabilization experts removed rock debris above the tunnel and a temporary netting was installed to help catch potential rock fall. The new tunnel extension will help further ensure motorist safety by reducing rock fall onto the roadway.