New Fanny Bridge in Tahoe City Plans to Solve Community Emergency Concerns

What is the oldest bridge you have in your region? Nearing the end of its useful life, the 83 year-old Fanny Bridge in Tahoe City, Calif. is in need of repair. It is on the National Register of Historical Places, and constructing a new State Route 89 would aid in solving community evacuation concerns and emergency access.

The bridge serves as THE main artery for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians to enter and exit Lake Tahoe’s West Shore to Tahoe City and/or Truckee. Did you know that the bridge during peak summer months holds an average of 22,300 vehicles per day and nearly 400 cyclists and pedestrians per hour, according to the 2009 Caltrans vehicle counts and TMPO pedestrian and cyclist counts?

Currently along Highway 89, West Shore Drive, during an emergency situation such as a forest fire or earthquake, the number of north versus southbound lanes needed for evacuation over Fanny Bridge will vary based on the incident. When one southbound lane is being used over Fanny Bridge for emergency vehicles to access the West Shore, only one northbound lane is available for evacuation.
Another safety concern noted by the Tahoe Transportation District is that the Tahoe Region is also a seismically active region. The last reported earthquake in its region shook as recently as January 2011. Currently designated as a seismically deficient structure, Fanny Bridge, in the case of an earthquake could be destroyed resulting in a catastrophic situation for West Shore areas south of the bridge. If the older seismically deficient Fanny Bridge were to be rendered inoperable, a newly constructed two-lane bridge would still facilitate northbound vehicular evacuation from the West Shore to areas located north of the Truckee River.

The new Fanny Bridge construction also plans to reconstruct a bridge to structurally last for more than 100 years, meeting future traffic demands for the next 20 years. It will be built to sufficiently hold emergency and other large vehicles, such as delivery trucks and water tender fire trucks that often weigh in excess of 30,000 pounds.

After the devastating impact of the 2007 South Lake Tahoe Angora Fire, Tahoe Basin communities have been increasingly concerned about sufficient evacuation routes. The Angora Fire burned approximately 3000 acres of Jeffrey Pine and mixed conifer forest between June 24 and July 2, 2007. Much of the fire burned at a high severity due to strong winds, unseasonably dry fuels, and high forest fuel loadings, destroying 254 homes. Fire suppression costs totaled approximately $160,000,000 placing the Angora Fire among the costliest wildfires in US history (USFS-LTBMU Burned Area Report, 2007).

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One Response to New Fanny Bridge in Tahoe City Plans to Solve Community Emergency Concerns

  1. Jim Sajdak says:

    Please let me know how I can get a copy of the TMPO pedestrian and cycle count report for Fanny Bridge.

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