The Tahoe Transportation District recently began the construction phase of their Fanny Bridge, SR-89 project. The project will create a new route for SR-89 that remains west of Tahoe City, and W Lake Blvd. will now be controlled by Placer County instead of the state of California. As a part of the project Fanny Bridge, the intersection in the area known as the "wye," and neighboring streets will be revitalized in the coming months.

The goal is to make the "wye" more pedestrian-friendly, and part of that includes reducing traffic through the area.

"There's a lot of traffic that comes in and gets backed up here at what's called the wye," Russ Nygaard, Senior Engineer for the Tahoe Transportation District, says.

The new stretch will include two new roundabouts at either end where the highway meets River Road and W Lake Blvd. The stretch also includes a bridge over the Truckee river that will have pedestrian paths underneath.

As for downtown, the intersection just north of Fanny Bridge will also become a roundabout to increase pedestrian safety by lowering traffic speeds. There will also be sidewalks and parking spaces added to the neighboring streets.

Construction on the sidewalks is ready to begin but construction on Fanny Bridge has to wait. Tahoe Transportation District cannot even reduce lanes until the new section of SR-89 in open to the public. The plan is to open that by the end of July, meaning construction on the Fanny Bridge could start in August, which worries one restaurant owner.

"The timing of the whole project is kind of what's affecting not only us in the wye corridor, but also just the folks in Tahoe City," Scott Zumwalt, owner of Bridgetender Bar & Grill says.

Zumwalt says he's nervous, because July and August are the busiest times of the year for Tahoe City. He says even if people have people have access to businesses, he's worried about people avoiding the traffic and having to walk through construction sites all together. Zumwalt says even if they delay closing the Fanny Bridge until after kids go back to school, it would help avoid problems during peak business season.

"We get that our busy season is building season, we know that's something we're in the middle of," Zumwalt says. "But we do feel there's a way to do this project to get it done but not be building in the heat of summer."

Nygaard says it will take two months to update the Fanny Bridge, and says it's unclear exactly when construction will begin on that bridge.

Construction planned for May 1 through October 15, 2018 (subject to change):
Complete new SR 89 realignment
Construct new Truckee River Bridge, located east of the Caltrans Maintenance Yard along SR 89 heading into Tahoe City from Truckee
Construct three new roundabouts
Complete street improvements within the project area along West Lake Blvd. (SR 89) - new sidewalks, crosswalks, street lights, and street/trail signage
Replace Fanny Bridge with sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides, including a new bridge rail that will match the existing bridge rail
Finalize new and/or improved bike and pedestrian paths
Drainage improvements
Install new Tahoe City gateway signage

The following work is anticipated to begin in May:
Three roundabouts
New Truckee River Bridge, located east of the Caltrans Maintenance Yard
New SR 89 alignment
Tahoe City Trout Statue dismantling

For more information, visit the project's web page here.