Lake Tahoe, Stateline, NV – The Tahoe Regional Transportation Agency’s Governing Board approved a $50,00o settlement Wednesday with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and Stewart Engineering (Stewart) regarding permit violations that occurred on California Highway 89 near Emerald Bay in 2018.

In May 2018, TRPA received a complaint regarding the construction of a retaining wall being built on Highway 89 as part of the Bayview project. Video showing a large boulder rolling over the side of the highway was revealed to TRPA by a worker on the project.

Inspecting the site that same day, TRPA staff found evidence of tree damage, slope de-stabilization, and other violations to the approved permit for the project. Specifically, TRPA inspectors found that temporary implementation of Best Management Practices for erosion control had not been installed at the site. Boulders and other construction debris were found in the stream environment zone directly below the project, along with damage to several trees, including the large Sugar Pine shown in the video.

“Caltrans and Stewart Engineering were both very cooperative during our investigation.” said Steve Sweet, code compliance manager with TRPA, “Caltrans and TRPA have a significant working relationship in the Basin. We look forward to forging ahead, and feel Caltrans is as committed as we are to protecting the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe.”

Caltrans and Stewart also completed a significant restoration project, mitigating the damage discovered during the inspection. As part of the restoration, TRPA approved the installation of permanent erosion controls, like placing downed trees to stabilize the slope, as well as the planting of various shrubs to inhibit erosion. Monitoring of the site will continue through November 2021 to verify that the completed work has established itself in the environment.

Permitting for Bayview project was granted to Caltrans and Stewart Engineering in the fall of 2017 and the project has since been completed.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment. For additional information, contact Chris Larson, Public Information Officer, at 775-589-5278.