EMIGRANT GAP — The U.S. Forest Service is considering allowing the first large rock quarry within the Tahoe National Forest, to provide granite for rebuilding Interstate 80.
The quarry would cover about 60 acres near Yuba Gap, 40 miles east of Auburn.
The interstate is being rebuilt between Auburn and the Nevada border for the first time since its construction 42 years ago, a process expected to take another 10 to 15 years.
The rebuilding will require so much rock that Granite Construction Co. proposed quarrying it nearby, within the national forest, said Jim Robertson, vice president of the Watsonville-based company.
The proposed quarry is within the 1,370 acres burned in last summer’s Gap Fire, though the proposal predates the fire, Forest Service geologist Bob DeTar said.
The site is about 1 1/2 miles from I-80. It can’t been seen from the interstate, but is in an area used by cross-country skiers, DeTar said. A private ski lodge is on the county road leading to the site.
The proposal will undergo extensive public environmental review, he said.
Granite is the only company that has indicated interest in quarrying rock in the national forest, DeTar said, but the forest service may solicit bids from others who might also use the quarry.
While other national forests host quarries, the Tahoe National Forest has only a few small gold mines, said Tahoe forest supervisor Steven Eubanks. However, a granite quarry has been operated on nearby private lands, he said.