Kings Beach improvement project underway

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Updated: 4/21/2014 10:41 pm
KINGS BEACH, Calif. ( & KRNV) -- A public safety project in North Lake Tahoe is about to get rolling after a decade of planning. Officials are finally breaking ground on the Kings Beach Project.

A four-lane highway rolls through Tahoe's Kings Beach, but it does not give much room for pedestrians or bikers. A decade-long plan to change this is finally hitting the streets.

The stretch sees five times the average number of California road collisions each year. In two years, however, Placer County hopes this is not happening anymore.

On Monday, construction began on this one-mile Kings Beach Public Safety Initiative. The commercial core improvement project has been a top priority since 2002 and will make Highway 28 accessible by car, foot and bike.

"Twenty feet of sidewalk, ten feet on each side where you don't have any of that right away for the pedestrian," said Public Works employee Peter Kraatz. "Then 5 feet of Class 2 bike lane on either side of the highway, as well."

The $50 million project has not been easy to pay off. About a dozen federal, state and local funding sources have taken over ten years to put together.

Construction trucks will take over almost 100 public parking spaces, but local business owners said it is still a long term benefit. "Slowing the traffic down is fantastic," said Marcus Tingle from Adrift Tahoe. "It will get people to spend more time here and spend money and recreate."

The project will also improve the safety of the lake. "We have requirements to the lake, ethical requirements, moral requirements, but legal requirements as well," said Fifth District Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery.

88,000 pounds of Kings Beach sediment run off into Tahoe each year. The new roads are being designed to fix this, too. "We're about to cut that in half from 88,000 to about 44,000 pounds of total sediment and that's a big deal, obviously," Kraatz said.

Reducing half of the sediment run-off from these roads makes this project one of the largest water-quality improvements Tahoe has ever seen.
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