Wednesday Nov 04 2009
End of road for Interstate 80 Colfax-Alta detour
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
Timing comes just as Sierra ski resorts gear up for winter season
After seven months, nightly traffic detours off Interstate 80 east of Colfax are over. The $70 million Caltrans project to rehab 11 miles of the freeway between Colfax and Alta is essentially completed, allowing two-way traffic back on I-80 24 hours a day. The final convoy of trucks, buses and RVs making the nighttime detour along Highway 20 and Highway 49 finished Wednesday morning, Caltrans spokeswoman Rochelle Jenkins said. “We’re getting out of the way for all the skiers,” Jenkins said. Some minor work is taking place to complete the project but no detours or delays are anticipated, she said. The smooth ride past Colfax will continue on several other stretches of Interstate 80 that have also been completed over the warm-weather construction season now coming to an end. Jenkins said drivers will still face a rough road at Emigrant Gap but work is slated to start on that section next spring. The road rehab project will take place from Carpenter Flat undercrossing at the Emigrant Gap interchange to Hampshire Rocks at the Rainbow interchange. The end of detours comes as ski resorts are gearing up for the new season. The new, smoother surface is a definite plus for travelers, said Andy Chapman, director of tourism with the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. “It’s certainly coming at the right time,” Chapman said. “It was a long detour and Caltrans did their part to keep impacts down but it did add a substantial delay. The run up is easier and it’s going to be a nicer road to travel on.” .