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Public works team worked around the clock after storm

The wild weather over the weekend kept county public works employees busy clearing roads and making sure that motorists were able to commute safely after the storms had passed.

Getting those roads up and running is no easy feat, as the department was out clearing roadways for several days.

"All of the guys have been out since Friday of last week, so it's been nonstop for our guys," Dave Fanning said at Tuesday's commission meeting. "I think the biggest thing that everybody needs to know is that it impacted the entire Nye County. It wasn't just in certain areas, it was the entire county."

Fanning said the worst hit areas were between Pahrump and Amargosa Valley into Beatty.

"As you go further north, Manhattan got wiped out, the Manhattan, Nevada section," Fanning said. "The mine section where we were sending water actually filled up during this last event. It wasn't ascending water, it's been going there for years and years."

The excess of water in the area is going to alter the Manhattan Street improvement, when the county goes back to it in 2016, Fanning said.

Stressing the magnitude of the event, Tim Carlo mentioned that public works employees worked on several roads that were unable to be traveled on after the storms.

"These roads were completely unpassable, Ranch Road, White Boulevard in Crystal, Ash Meadows all the way through Stewart Valley, Johnnie Mine and Bell Vista," Carlo said. "That's just from Sunday. Tonopah would be Wells Station, a complete rebuild, Sunnyside out by the Gardener Ranch and Well Line Road."

Additional roads in Gabbs and Amargosa Valley also kept public works employees busy throughout the weekend into the work week, showing that the issue really was countywide.

The only road that public works was unable to make passable was Spring Meadows in Ash Meadows.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service closed the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge on Tuesday as a safety precaution. The heavy storms over the weekend left many of the roads in nearly impassable condition due to washouts and debris.

According to Ash Meadows NWR Manager Annjanette Bagozzi, there is substantial damage to the roads traversing the wildlife refuge.

"We strongly discourage drivers from taking these routes. Anyone attempting to drive on the refuge does so at their own risk."

The roads leading to the various points of interest on the wildlife refuge are also closed. The gates on each of those routes will remain closed and locked until the roads are deemed safe for travel.

Daniel Balduini, public affairs officer for Ash Meadows, said that one of the entrances should be ready to go for the weekend, letting regularly scheduled activities to take place.

"Right now things that are planned for Saturday, program-wise, right now they believe they will be able to host those programs," Balduini said. "People will just have to come in through the south entrance that's all. It's a little longer way to the visitors center but they don't see any reason why they can't be open Saturday and have those programs."

Changes in road conditions in Ash Meadows will be announced and posted on the Internet at www.fws.gov/refuge/ash_meadows/ and on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AshMeadowsNWR?fref=ts. Any additional questions may also be directed to refuge staff at 775-372-5435.

Death Valley National Park also saw considerable damage from the unusually heavy rains closing several areas of the popular tourist site.

To show just how bad the area was hit by the flooding rains, a media tour is set for Saturday for local media groups to get a firsthand feel of the problems caused by the rain.

"Death Valley National Park invites members of the press for an escorted trip into Grapevine Canyon and to Scotty's Castle on Saturday," a statement from Death Valley said. "All of Grapevine Canyon is closed to all access except via this escorted trip. This opportunity is only open to the media, not to the general public."

Media will have photo opportunities, including two historic structures at Scotty's Castle which have visible damage, one of which is an external wall that is broken and pushed a foot off the foundation. Drying mud over a foot deep fills the inside of two historic structures. The historic swimming pool is full of mud and water.

Check back in next Wednesday's edition of the Pahrump Valley Times for a full report from the media storm aftermath tour.

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.


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