California budget cuts to impact I-80 snow removal in Tahoe

Posted By: The Ski Channel on November 9, 2009 4:45 pm

SIERRA SUN – TAHOE CITY, Calif. — State budget cuts will limit snow removal on Interstate 80 in the Tahoe region this winter during non-holiday times.

When the state decided this year to protect full-time workers, it also limited funding for short-term and temporary employees like plow drivers, many of whom depend on that work to make a living in our region, said Stan Richins with Caltrans.

“I’ve got $1.9 million to do $4 million worth of work,” Richins said. “It’s not going to happen the way we’ve done it before.”

Caltrans will keep traditional services on Interstate 80 between Dec. 15 and Jan. 15, but will then have to scale back services.

Sugar Bowl representative John Monson’s resort is the biggest on Donner Pass. He said because the resort manages snow removal on Highway 40 on its own accord, that Caltrans works to help them keep I-80 clear during peak holiday times.

The North Tahoe Transportation Management Association said it would write letters to elected officials to make sure short-term workers specific to snow removal are taken into consideration by the state legislature.

“We want to help,” said Steve Teshara. “And we want to write a letter. It’s a serious issue.”

Richins said major storms that are forecasted should not be an issue to cover.

“It’s the ones when we have 10 inches when it’s partly cloudy,” he added. “I’m not going to have people on board. I can’t afford to keep them on full-time basis like we normally would.”

Placer and Nevada counties and the city of Truckee have not cut back snow removal services, so area roads should be consistent with previous years, according to local transportation managers.

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