By JIM SAJDAK  |  Tahoe City

After spending the last three and a half years reviewing the documentation provided by the Tahoe Transportation District to the public on the proposed SR89/Fanny Bridge Revitalization Project, I am amazed at the continued use of falsified information to justify the project. Initially, the transportation district may not have done adequate research on the information they used to file the California Access Program Project Application for federal funding for the proposed project, and the continued use of misleading information is unethical.

The Caltrans Bridge Inspection Report dated June 6, 2014, states that the girders, columns, abutments, footing, and pier caps are structurally sound


on Fanny Bridge. With accurate information provided to both the TTD and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, both agencies have continued to falsify the actual condition of the bridge. According to a TTD press release from May 19, “Because it serves as the sole vehicular and emergency access and evacuation route over the Truckee River for West Shore residents, Fanny Bridge’s deficiency also proposes a safety risk to local residents and visitors.” The TRPA staff also presented the same information to the TRPA Governing Board on Feb. 18. Confirmation from Caltrans was provided to both agencies on Nov. 4, 2014, when Caltrans confirmed that repairs to Fanny Bridge are minor in nature. Much of the information provided in the funding application fell into the same category.

Actions taken by the TRPA during its vote on May 27 for the proposed project did not follow its past direction in protecting the Tahoe environment. TRPA Executive Director Joanne Marchetta held a public meeting a few years ago and displayed a Tupperware box with road sand in it, stating that road sand is the number one cause in the decline of lake clarity. Marchetta further stated on Jan. 15, 2014 in the Sierra Sun that “TRPA years ago established an urban boundary to stop sprawl, capped the roadway capacity of the Basin to reduce reliance on the private automobile,” and “Limiting the amount of land coverage at Lake Tahoe will continue to be a cornerstone of TRPA’s plan to protect Lake Tahoe’s water quality.” The SR 89/Fanny Bridge Project approved by the TRPA Governing and Advisory boards adds road sand to an expanded highway system, resulting in approximately 4.4 acres of land coverage, some of which is through a stream environment zone, which contradicts previous statements made by the TRPA.    

On April 14, I met with Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s staff to request her involvement in the SR89/Fanny Bridge Project. Feinstein co-authored the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act and is proud of its achievements, which eliminate roadways through forested land, protecting the irreplaceable environment and stream environment zone. After more than a month of meeting with her staff, Feinstein has remained silent on whether the impacts to the environment, community, and businesses outweigh the project’s proposed cost of $33 million.

The outcome of the SR89/Fanny Bridge Community Revitalization Project was decided over a year ago, which was confirmed by a representative of Placer County. Based on factual information, there is no justification for the project.   

~ Jim Sajdak has lived in Tahoe City for 18 years because of his passion for the Lake Tahoe environment.


Previous articleHabitat Restoration Needed During Drought
Next articleDear Editor: Frustrated With Hospital Board