Members of the Nevada Department of Transportation from both Carson City and Las Vegas offices made a presentation at the County Commissioner meeting June 15 regarding their planned upcoming work projects throughout the county.
Twice a year NDOT makes a visit to the Commission seeking approval of what work projects they have scheduled in Lincoln County.
Sondra Rosenberg, assistant NDOT director of planning in Carson City, along with seven other staff members, and one from the federal highway system, said from May through July NDOT likes to make a visit to each of the county commissions, increase coordination with the counties, give their plan overview, listen to local issues and take a look at the long range plans. Tours of tribal areas in the state are conducted later in July and August.
Rosenberg said safety is the top priority of NDOT’s planning. “Zero fatalities on our roads and highways is the foremost priority, and really there is no other acceptable goal.”
Looking at a slide of the state roads in Lincoln County, plus U.S. 93, Rosenberg noted in the years between 2009 and 2014, there were 753 crashes, 553 non-injury, 166 injury crashes, 246 other injuries, 16 fatal crashes and 17 fatalities.
She said in the past number of years, widening of the and flattening of shoulders, and putting in the rumble strips has help greatly reduce the number of cars running off the road.
In August of this year, Rosenberg said NDOT will stop getting federal highway trust funding, but said there are certain committees in Congress holding meetings to get some long-term extensions.
Proposed funding for projects in Lincoln County for the next couple of years total $8,936,289 with $8,791,289 in fiscal year 2016 and $145,000 in fiscal years 2017-2019.
A plan to design and construct a new safety rest area facility to better accommodate travelers on U.S. 93 near the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge has been put on hold for a couple of years, Rosenberg said.
In the meantime, work projects for 2016 include chip seal from Rainbow Canyon to Cathedral Gorge State Park, reconstruction due to roadway settlement along state route 319 from Panaca to Modena, and hydrological and irrigation improvements to divert water off the roadway on the state route 317 down Rainbow Canyon toward Elgin, especially at the Brackenberry ranch.
Commissioner Paul Donohue said SR 322 from Pioche to Ursine is also badly in need of repair in certain places, and Rosenberg said a Project Initiation Form can be obtained on the website www.nevadadot.com/pif.
Commission chair Kevin Phillips asked if NDOT had any long-range plans on improving areas on SR 319 in the Panaca Summit area where a vehicle really cannot pull off on the shoulder very well, if necessary. Rosenberg said shoulder widening and flattening is something that has been discussed, but she did not know when they might be put on the work schedule.
The heavy haul route to and from Las Vegas is through Lincoln County now that Arizona has shut off the I-15 Virgin River Gorge to oversized/over wide commercial vehicles, and Phillips wondered how long that might be. Rosenberg said only one of the bridges in the gorge is being repaired at the present time, and didn’t know if there was funding for Arizona to have the other six bridges repaired.
Dr. Adam Katschke said since Western Elite has been granted a Class I landfill license, traffic is likely to become very heavy there and a turnout lane is needed at the entrance to the landfill and changes need to be made at the I-15 interchange at the Love’s Truck Stop. Rosenberg said NDOT has applied for a special grant for road widening up to four lanes on I-15 up to the Apex development. “But applications for such grants are very competitive. We will look for opportunities to provide improvements further up on 93 in the future.”