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Wulfenstein footing bill for test pavement

Wulfenstein Construction was given approval by Nye County Commissioners Tuesday to test a material called Super Pave at Calvada Boulevard and Pahrump Valley Boulevard at their expense in an attempt to put down the 1 1/2 inch thick asphalt treatment to firm up rough approaches to intersections.

Company representative Bryan Wulfenstein, in his April 14 letter to the county, said the performance grade asphalt 70-10 oil in a half-inch mix has been used successfully on federal highways and by CalTrans in Death Valley National Park and Shoshone, Calif.

“Wulfenstein representatives have indicated that this improved paving material has performance and economic advantages over the materials presently used by the road department for patching and maintenance of county roads,” Fanning wrote in his request.

Wulfenstein will pay all the costs of the test project including flaggers, a traffic control plan and minor repairs like crack seal and patching.

Commissioner Lorinda Wichman immediately made a motion to approve the project. But District Attorney Brian Kunzi persuaded her to wait and amend that motion.

“The only problem is we have not looked at any contract with this,” Kunzi said. The DA wanted to be sure there was a hold harmless and indemnity clause for the county.

“It’s a test section of a maintenance type nature. We’re kind of thinking of what they defined as a perpetual pavement. We have an infrastructure of roads over the past 10, 15 years where we’ve been chip sealing, we’ve been creating an infrastructure but now it’s getting to the point where we need to preserve the chip seals. A lot of the chip sealed roads are not designed for arterial roads,” Wulfenstein said.

Wulfenstein acknowledged a lot of the chip seal program in Pahrump was to satisfy the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA has a memorandum of understanding with Nye County to reduce dust.

“And we’ve satisfied most of those requirements,” Wulfenstein said.

Wulfenstein said they would prep the surface following the direction of the public works department how they would want to prepare the road then put down a layer of asphalt.

Fanning said he began looking at touching up intersections at the request of Commissioner Donna Cox back in January. After that intersection, Wulfenstein will look at doing a test strip on Calvada Boulevard and Blagg Road. Fanning said the first section, at Calvada and Pahrump Valley boulevards, sees 15,000 to 20,000 vehicles per day.

Wulfenstein said his company used a similar type of material when they did intersection improvements at Highway 160 and Homestead Road.

Wulfenstein Construction was awarded a $628,308 contract by county commissioners for the 2014 chip seal program on May 6 as the lowest of three bidders. Fanning told commissioners Tuesday the company has already finished about six miles of the 15.4 miles targeted this year. The county is using $500,000 from a fund built up by payments Nye County received for the Yucca Mountain program called Payment Equal to Taxes and additional money from the Secure Rural Schools program, awarded by the U.S. Forest Service to counties with large acreages of forest service land.

“It’s literally to repair any type of intersection. You know how our intersections are rippling when you come to an intersection. Where the bumps are we’re going to grind those down and repave them,” Fanning told the Pahrump Valley Times.

In a related matter, commissioners approved a $838,048 budget for the Regional Transportation Commission for the 2014-15 fiscal year, funded with the local four-cent gas tax. The major expense, $600,000, will be maintaining gravel roads. Another $66,498 is allocated for patching major roads, $58,895 for engineering and administration, $57,408 for striping major roads, $31,047 for street lighting and $24,200 for maintaining traffic signals.