By Mark Waite
TONOPAH — Road construction is clearly on the mind of motorists in Pahrump these days, with numerous streets being torn up and repaired in projects being funded mostly by Nye County.
So it was a little timely that Nevada Department of Transportation officials made their annual presentation Tuesday to county commissioners at a meeting 165 miles north.
Nye County Public Works Director Dave Fanning told commissioners Wulfenstein Construction should wrap up work on Dandelion Road May 11, then they will receive the notice to proceed to start work on repairs to the sewer trench lines on Blagg Road. The Pahrump company won both contracts.
In the fiscal year beginning July 1, there will be more road construction on the north end. Highway 160 is targeted for a chip seal from two miles north of Bell Vista Road to the junction of Highway 95, a project estimated to cost $630,286, in the NDOT list of proposed highway projects for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
The biggest cost item in the $13.95 million list is a project estimated to cost $7.3 million, laying down a cold mill mix on 6.86 miles of Highway 95 going north from the Clark-Nye County line, a project that isn’t expected to affect many Pahrump motorists, unless they drive the northern route into Las Vegas.
Other NDOT projects are in the north county, like a $1.8 million micro-surfacing of 15 miles of Highway 6 from eight miles of the junction of Highway 375 to Sandy Summit. A turnoff for motorists to chain up on Highway 6 east of Duckwater is on the list, a $400,000 project. A chip seal on Highway 6 from one mile west of the Salisbury Wash rest area to the junction of Highway 372, a $652,960 project, is scheduled to begin. Highway 361, the Gabbs Valley Road, will get a chip seal for 16 miles, at a cost of $496,164.
Highway 376 will get a chip seal for 37 miles through Smoky Valley, in two projects estimated to cost $1.33 million. Highway 375, the Extraterrestrial Highway, will get a chip seal, a project costing $1.3 million.
NDOT is currently proceeding with an $8 million contract to install handicapped ramps for sidewalks on Highway 372 and Highway 160 in Pahrump, along with some repaving work.
NDOT Deputy Director Rudy Malfabon said a statewide coordinator for the Americans With Disabilities Act ADA has recently been hired.
“We’re going to be doing interviews with the public about ADA issues. If you have some contacts in Nye County who would like to get in touch with NDOT we’d love to talk to them,” Malfabon said.
Nye County Commissioner Butch Borasky previously asked about a crosswalk on Highway 160 at the Saddle West Hotel and Casino. Malfabon said the district engineer had concerns with that.
“He has a concern with creating a false sense of security for pedestrians. He suggested the county look into street lighting for that area. NDOT doesn’t typically install street lighting unless we have a major project in that area,” Malfabon said.
Commissioners received requests to improve the shoulders on Highway 160 where it narrows to two lanes north of Boothill Lane. Malfabon said NDOT would have to truck in millings to build up the shoulders, unless there’s a road project in the area.
Nye County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen wanted a less than one mile segment of Highway 160 between Homestead Road and Calvada Boulevard, where it briefly narrows again to two lanes, widened to five lanes to make it continuous. That bottleneck occurred after the county widened the Homestead Road-Highway 160 intersection.
Borasky wanted a better turning radius at Highway 372 and Blagg Road where he said school buses have trouble making right hand turns.
Nye County Commissioner Gary Hollis again raised problems with the drainage at Highway 372 and Bannavitch Street. Malfabon said the elevations weren’t allowing NDOT to make improvements for the pipe to transfer the water. Borasky said there’s drainage on the other side of the highway that’s filled up with mud, some mesquite trees have to be moved.
Hollis said there is a problem at Highway 160 and Manse Road where there are holes from people turning off the pavement.
Nye County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen wanted to update a 2004 study on the intersection of Highway 160 and Wilson Road to see if it met the warrants for a traffic signal. Malfabon said NDOT would also study the intersection of Highway 160 and Mesquite Avenue.
Malfabon said intersections at Highway 372 and Pahrump Valley Boulevard as well as Highway 372 and Blagg Road already met warrants to merit building a traffic signal.
Malfabon said NDOT could look at right-turn pockets so motorists don’t have to wait for people making left turns.
“We can help you with warrants but when it comes to a competitive application for safety improvements it’s competing with other locations across the state when it comes to intersections,” Malfabon said.
NDOT will meet with Nye County public works department to look at the intersections and study any alternative solutions, he said.
Malfabon said NDOT and other state highway departments, are frustrated over the delays in getting Congress to approve a long term highway bill.
The U.S. Senate passed a two-year highway bill, it awaits action in the House of Representatives.
NDOT uses 70 percent of its money for engineering and construction, he said, 25 percent goes to maintenance. They’re trying to award contracts, as the construction companies are hurting in the economy.