Transportation

Work progresses on pedestrian, cyclist alternative to Truckee’s Highway 89 ‘mouse hole’

Pressure from automobiles, pedestrians and bicyclists on a Highway 89 tunnel ill-equipped to handle the combined traffic in Truckee has led to a project that will give walkers and riders a safe alternative.
Pressure from automobiles, pedestrians and bicyclists on a Highway 89 tunnel ill-equipped to handle the combined traffic in Truckee has led to a project that will give walkers and riders a safe alternative. Bee correspondent

Bicyclists and pedestrians who have braved Truckee’s infamous “mouse hole” tunnel on Highway 89 South, the busy route between Interstate 80 and Tahoe City, soon will have safer passage.

The 25-foot-wide, concrete arch beneath Union Pacific railroad tracks was constructed in 1928. It has no shoulders or space to accommodate more than two vehicles on Highway 89, which narrows from four lanes to two at the tunnel’s southbound entrance.

Despite a lighted “peds in tunnel when flashing” sign, it’s a treacherous spot for pedestrians and bicyclists. With a mobile-home park, college and shopping center nearby, the tunnel receives heavy use.

Truckee and state Department of Transportation officials decided the solution is to construct a “mini-mouse hole” east of the tunnel and a paved trail through it from West River Street to Deerfield Drive.

Design work, tree-clearing and other preparation for the planned Class 1 trail were accomplished in time for an April 2 ground-breaking ceremony.

From 6 p.m. Monday through 10 a.m. Friday, there will be shoulder and lane closures along Highway 89’s east side, between West River Street and Deerfield Drive, for striping and excavation operations.

Motorists are urged to be cautious in the area and plan for delays.

Completion of the $14 million project is anticipated this year, Caltrans officials said.

  Comments