Donner Pass Road Improvements

Project Description

This project consists of road rehabilitation and shoulder widening on 6.5 miles of Donner Pass Road beginning at the Soda Springs exit and ending at the Truckee town limit east of the summit.   A typical road section will consist of two 11-foot lanes with 4-foot shoulders plus safety edges, except in the downhill direction on the east side due to topographical constraints. The project will also improve recreational and sightseeing access, with enhanced parking on the east side of the summit that connects to rock climbing, hiking, and biking amenities, as well as to historic and prehistoric features. Bicycling conditions will be improved with bike lanes in both directions on the west side and in the uphill direction on the east side. Enhanced pullouts and parking areas include the Rainbow Bridge parking lot, School House pullout, Star Wall pullout, Snow shed North and South pullouts, Space Wall pullout, and Black Wall pullout. During the winter the widening will also provide additional snow storage and improve access to winter recreational destinations. Nevada County received California Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) funding for this project in 2015. The project is being managed and delivered by the Central Federal Lands Highway Division (CFLHD). More information can be found at CFLHD's website at


  • Primarily funded through the Federal Lands Access Program.

Total Budget

  • approximately $11 million dollars

Current Status

  • April 28, 2021 - Due to unexpected rain over the last weekend, Contractors have determined that the west side of the summit is too wet to begin work. In order to progress work, Contractors will begin working on the east side of the summit and working down to the Truckee Town limits.   Donner Pass Road from Rainbow Bridge to the town limits will be closed from starting Monday May 10th at 7:00 am through Friday at 5:00 pm and until further notice.  Additional closures can be expected the week of May 17th through June 1st extending the road closure up to the Sugar Bowl Academy in order to begin drainage work.  
  • April 20, 2021 - The Donner Pass Road construction project is scheduled to resume work starting May 3, 2021.  Work this season will focus on rebuilding the roadway on the west side of the summit from the intersection of the Soda Springs exit on I-80 up to the summit.  There will also be intermittent work on the East side of the summit to the Truckee Town limits.  Hours of operation will be from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Although there are no anticipated road closures at this time, please expect up to 20 minute delays for lane closures. 
  • September 10,2020 - The Donner Pass road closure will be extended from Rainbow Bridge to the summit on weekdays from 7 AM Sept 21 to 5 PM Oct 2. This is in addition to the existing closure from Rainbow Bridge east to the Town of Truckee limits which is anticipated to be in effect through October. The road will be open on the weekends as usual.  After Oct 2, the road between the summit and rainbow bridge will be reopened. This closure is necessary to complete a portion of the road widening in this area.
  • August 13, 2020  - Progress being made to widen Donner Pass Road from the summit to Donner Lake.” 
  • July 1, 2020 - Traffic Delays and Road Closures Scheduled - Beginning on July 6 running thru October 15, Donner Pass Road from Rainbow Bridge to the Town of Truckee Limits , will be closed to all traffic from 7:00 am Monday- 5:00 Friday. The road will be open with one way traffic control on the weekends 
  • June 19, 2020 - Traffic Delays and Road Closures Scheduled - Beginning Monday, June 22nd, there will be one-lane traffic control with 20-minute delays from Donner Summit east to the Town of Truckee limits. Flaggers will be present to with traffic controls throughout the project.                                                              
  • May 18,2020 - Preliminary construction activities will begin the week of May 25, 2020.  Construction scheduled for the summer seasons of 2020 and 2021.  To receive regular updates as they become available, please subscribe to the Alert Center for this project at


  • CEQA completed February 2019. NEPA completed April 2019.


Encroachment permits for events will not be issued during construction