CalTrans delays Raise The 80 detour through Nevada County
The two-night detour of Interstate 80 traffic through western Nevada County has been postponed.
CalTrans originally hoped to schedule this detour in May or June, but the date has finally been set for Aug. 13-14. The detour will run from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., both Wednesday and Thursday.
“It was paperwork, mainly,” said Rochelle Jenkins, a spokeswoman for CalTrans.
“We’re very, very stringent on our contingency plans with our contractors,” Jenkins said. “With us having such a long detour, we wanted every duck in a row before we let them set a date.”
The agency is also working on safety measures. Westbound semi-trucks will be shuttled downhill in order to prevent run-away vehicles. Jenkins said they’re also working with fire-fighting agencies within the region and looking to minimize the likelihood of accidentally starting a fire by keeping mechanical heat sources like exhaust pipes away from roadside brush.
“We’re all hyper-sensitive about fire right now, as we should be,” Jenkins said. “That was a real big public concern last time, and we want to make sure everyone’s aware that we’re already on top of that.”
The agency also plans to provide a shuttle escort for westbound big-rig traffic from I-80 to the McKnight Way exit. They hope this will keep speeds low enough to avoid a run-away truck scenario.
That said, CalTrans anticipates that most truck drivers will avoid the additional mileage associated with the detour, opting instead to wait in place for I-80 to open.
“We had an incident this week where eastbound I-80 was closed for about five hours, and it gave us a real big clue to what the truckers’ habits are,” Jenkins said. “They all sat on 80 and waited for it to reopen.”
Jenkins is working on an informational open house so local residents will have an opportunity to meet with CalTrans officials and find out more about their plans for the Raise the 80 project. Jenkins hopes to schedule that workshop for the week of Aug. 4, but the date and venue have not yet been confirmed.
To contact staff writer Dave Brooksher, send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.
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