I-80 emergency road repairs on pause with first big snow in Sierra


DONNER SUMMIT – Caltrans crews have been working on emergency road repairs along I-80 since September and now the first big snow of the season is here with chain controls going into effect for the higher elevations Wednesday afternoon.

As of Wednesday morning, Caltrans had completed 63 of the 140 miles of emergency repairs it has been working on from Colfax to the Stateline. 

The snow falling on the rutted roads on I-80 on Wednesday and Thursday will slow the progress in the emergency repairs.

“It still gives you that shake when you hit them,” said Antonio Rozco who works at a gas station in Nyack.

The work on the $62.9 million project did not get approved until after Labor Day to avoid road closures during summer tourism.

Caltrans District 3 public information officer Jeremy Linder said crews hope to resume work once the storm passes.

“It is all dependent on Mother Nature,” said Linder.

Mother Nature allowed for freshly paved asphalt to be completed between Colfax and Alta.

Once you get into the higher elevations, Linder said concrete replacement is needed on the roads which is tougher to do in the cold or snow. There have also been other challenges with doing the work.

“We get some delays with the equipment line, materials,” said Linder. “That always can happen with construction.”

Having no snow is good for the roads, but not so good for businesses.

“Hopefully the storm will bring in some snow and bring some people in,” said Rozco.

Rozco told CBS 13 things have been a lot slower since less people are coming up with no snow.

“Caltrans wouldn’t have the roads open to the public if they weren’t safe,” said Linder.

Caltrans crews also completed several miles of road repairs near Truckee in a secondary project. 

Caltrans is working to secure funding for 2024 to return to spots on I-80 that it is not able to complete in the next few weeks.

Linder reminds travelers to check the forecast before heading up to the mountains and always bring chains to be safe.

“Always pack patience,” said Linder. “Just take your time.”

To check the latest road conditions, click here. 

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