Highway 50 Reopened – But Expect Continued Delays

Highway 50 Reopened But Work Continues

On Tuesday, September 21, 2021, Highway 50 reopened entirely after a month of various closures. A 20-mile stretch of the Highway 50 corridor between Kyburz and Meyers linking the Sacramento Valley to South Lake Tahoe and the Sierra region was the last section to fully reopen. It had been closed for clean-up necessitated by the Caldor Fire. 

The reopening makes the stretch open to all motorists, including those traveling to South Lake Tahoe for recreation, as well as homeowners returning to the area.

Why Was Highway 50 Closed?

The roadway was closed by Caltrans officials on August 20, 2021. At that time, the closure included more than 40 miles – from Pollock Pines to Meyers. The reason for the closure was a concern about falling debris as strong winds were whipping the Caldor Fire in the direction of the Tahoe Basin. Over the past month, western portions of the highway were gradually reopened. 

During the closure, utility crews and Caltrans units worked to remove dead trees, fallen power lines, and other major debris around the highway. Officials from Caltrans caution motorists that traffic will continue to be delayed and/or stopped at various points along the highway as their work continues. They expect that it could take months to finish the work that is still required to clean up and repair after the fire. Crews are expected to be deployed in that regard into next year. 

The Caldor Fire

The conflagration known as the Caldor Fire ignited on August 14, 2021. It quickly burned thousands of acres within El Dorado County and destroyed cabins built along Highway 50. To date, it has burned more than 1,000 structures. The raging wildfire also forced the evacuation of residents of South Lake Tahoe. Thankfully, fire crews were ultimately able to get control of the fire and alleviate the threat to the Tahoe region. The fire is still burning, and as of September 21st, containment was at 76%, according to officials from the Eldorado National Forest Service.

Tahoe Businesses Hurt by Month-Long Closure

South Lake Tahoe business owners have been missing the area’s usual summer crowds. The news that Highway 50 has been fully reopened is relieving, although it may be near impossible to recoup the losses incurred due to the fire, evacuations, and highway closure. It is hoped that as visitors, campers, and others seeking Tahoe recreation return, they support the local businesses that have lost revenue over the past month. 

Watch the YouTube video. Below is a news clip on the reopening posted by ABC10.

Information for Homeowners and Travelers

Authorities would like those returning to the area to be aware of a few things:

  • There is an El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office trailer that will remain at the Fresh Pond Chevron for property owners seeking information on assistance.
  • Motorists are advised to drive with extra caution on Highway 50 because fire and utility crews continue to do work at various points along the route.
  • With regard to campgrounds – be aware that the closure of the Eldorado National Forest remains in effect until September 30th.

Personal Injury Lawyers in South Lake Tahoe

Hello – thanks for reading our post reporting that Highway 50 reopened. My name is Ed Smith, and I am a Lake Tahoe personal injury lawyer. The South Lake Tahoe region sees a large number of injury-causing auto accidents every year. Many are caused by visitors that are unfamiliar with driving on snowy and icy roads. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a careless or negligent motorist, call our experienced injury lawyers for help. We can set up a no-obligation consultation to go over your potential case, or we can simply provide free and friendly advice. Call us at (530) 392-9400 or (800) 404-5400, or reach out to us online.

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