Homestead Road set to receive widening

Homestead Road between Gamebird and Manse roads is set to receive an upgrade, widening the constricted two-lane stretch of road, but the plan has been slimmed down due to budget constraints.

The original plan was to make the road five paved lanes with bike paths and sidewalks, but the new plans call for two 14-foot travel lanes with five-foot bike paths on each side of the road, making an overall paved surface of 38 feet across. A drainage ditch is also planned for both sides of Homestead Road in this section.

The revision to the Pahrump Regional Planning District’s Streets and Highways Capital Improvement Plan was approved by a 5-0 vote at the Board of County Commissioners meeting Tuesday.

The Pahrump Regional Transportation Commission took this action due to significant reduction of local development and growth in the area and the lack of funds.

“This was originally approved as a five-lane road, but we find we don’t have the money for that but we do have the money for the two lanes with the bike paths,” said Commissioner Dan Schinhofen. “It’s going to be just like Manse Road.”

When questioned further about the lane reductions in the plans during public comment, Schinhofen expanded on the new plans.

“I asked for it to be two lanes, but it’s still as wide, it’s 38 feet wide, so it’s still going to be plenty wide,” he said. “Because I can’t tell you how many people hate the chicken lanes, or as we call them suicide lanes, on upper Homestead and I saw how nice Manse seems to be working so that’s why I asked for just the two lanes with the bike lanes attached.”

During public comment, the flooding issues that arise on that stretch of Homestead Road came up and Dave Fanning, director of Public Works, explained the drainage plan.

“Right now that’s why we’re having an engineer go out there and design it, to try and figure out where the peak flows are going to be, what the volumes are going to be, where the CFS is going to be coming across and where it’s going to report.” Fanning said. “You’re going to have several areas with the CFS. So when it comes together you’re going to have to send it somewhere. The original low spot is by the mesquite grove by the VFW, that’s where everything pretty much congregates today. That is actually the lowest point.

“Pushing it down there, then raising it up near Gamebird is going to be the key subject matter and trying to keep it off what is the west-hand side. So you’re going to get some penetration of this west-hand side, but not like you normally have, but we’re going to push it to that one area.”

Commissioner Donna Cox asked for clarification as to why bike lanes were so important to the plans and Fanning explained it’s part of protocol.

“You have to test it, you have to put it out there to see if people use it just to prove it,” Fanning said of why bike lanes are being added. “Right now we’re not seeing the foot traffic, the bike traffic, anything on them that we should be seeing. You can’t build an actual roadway without access and that is including pedal bikes. That’s not mopeds, that’s not wheelchairs, it is supposed to be a bike lane.”

Fanning said that he has seen more disabled people use their motorized transportation devices and using the lanes more than cyclists or pedestrians.

“We’re doing this through time and we’re trying to see what we’re gaining on it. Nobody is using them the way they said they would use them. ADA’s are actually what we see using them, five, six, seven times a day.”

With the less-than-expected usage of bike lanes on other area roads, Fanning explained that changes could be made to the areas down the line.

“That’s why they can go away in the future. If we decided to actually build it to three lanes, have a center turn lane, left or right and have your two traffic lanes,” he said. “So if you want to do that today we could build it 38 feet, stripe it with that and then have to build a bike lane. But they’re just not a true need.”

Contact reporter Mick Akers at Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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