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Lake Tahoe visitors getting pulled over

Tahoe CHP warning

Lake Tahoe visitors beware: There’s a new right turn rule that might soon get you a ticket.

The rule is part of a pilot program being tested in South Tahoe which, as any local or weekend visitor will tell you, struggles with traffic congestion. Some of the issue is due to traffic apps, which route drivers off main roads and into residential neighborhoods. To help with this, drivers from North Upper Truckee Road and Sawmill Road can no longer turn right onto westbound U.S. Highway 50. The right-turn restriction is in effect only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays and holidays that fall on Mondays, such as the upcoming Memorial Day. It applies to locals, too.

According to the Tahoe Daily Tribune, about a dozen people were pulled over for violating the new rule Sunday. Nine were out-of-towners, and all got off with just a warning. California Highway Patrol officers told the Tribune they’re doing an informational campaign for now, but soon there will be tickets associated with right-turn violations. Part of the reason for their current leniency is not all traffic apps have updated to include the new restriction.

The rule is in effect through Oct. 31. If at that point the pilot program is deemed a success, the Tribune reports 21 turn restrictions may be added this winter.

“This is a test, and rescindable at any time,” CHP Officer Ruth Loehr told South Tahoe Now. “The whole intention is to get mapping apps to finally realize we don’t want travelers in our neighborhoods.”

We gave lots of warnings but no citations yet,” said CHP Officer Ruth Loehr from the South Lake Tahoe office. “Not all of the mapping apps were showing the change so we’re trying to be as fair as possible.”

Multiple road signs were installed in the first week of May to warn motorists of the pilot program, which is in effect 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays and holidays that fall on Mondays through Oct. 31. If the pilot program works, the full program featuring 21 turn restrictions may be put into action during the winter season.

CHP officials said they have received a lot of feedback.

“There is definitely some push-back from locals and we have received some complaints here at the office,” said CHP Lt. Ken Nelson. “However, most of the feedback we have received has been supportive of the project and its goal to ease traffic in the neighborhoods. Also, there were no traffic accidents attributed to the left turns, which is an important data point we are monitoring. So far it is going well.”