Several area residents who drive the curves and crescents of Kingsbury Grade regularly are concerned that the current construction project will make the roadway more dangerous and less picturesque.
"There's is a lot of concern from those of us who live up there not only about safety, but also the way it looks," said Kingsbury resident Don Mize. "It's frustrating driving down it every day and just being disappointed."
In 2009, the Nevada Department of Transportation contracted with Peek Construction for the $6.8 million project, involving erosion control improvement and the replacement of a retaining wall, which has been in progress for three construction seasons.
"Once this erosion control project along Kingsbury is completed, there will be two major improvements to the roadway: The drainage of water and safety," said NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder in an e-mail.
But resident Linda Bronken contends that the project will remove a much-needed pullout and place a dangerous cement retaining wall closer to drivers.
"This is the most dangerous section of the road, where most of the accidents occur," Bronken said of the stretch between Hubbard Drive and North Benjamin Drive. "For someone driving down on ice, the last thing you want is a wall right next to you."
Magruder insists that driver and pedestrian safety has been addressed. The cement wall is intended to stop water and debris from flowing onto the roadway. The road and the shoulder, the paved section between the edge of the striped lane and the dirt, will not be narrowed, he said.
"Rolled curbs are being installed and both bicyclists and pedestrians will have a shoulder as wide to use exactly as it was before the project," he said. "Overall there will be better safety and major improvements in eliminating debris from flowing down the roadway."
Three to four pullouts, including one paved pullout, will be eliminated with the construction, Magruder said. Janis Hill, a Gardnerville resident who drives the road each day to work at Harrah's, worries that without the pullouts people will stop in the middle of the road to chain up or if they can't make it up the hill, she said.
"I'm really concerned with them taking out those emergency turnouts," she said.
The general appearance of the concrete barrier doesn't have drivers impressed either.
"The color of it doesn't match any portion of the environment," Mize said.
The last point of contention is the project's length. The original plan dictated a 200-day work schedule. The contractor is nearing their 200-day mark, but completion is still a ways off, Magruder said.
"This project has disrupted us for three years," Mize said.
Though a $6,000 fee for every day over schedule is in place, NDOT extended the work schedule 87 days.
"This was a very complex project," Magruder said. "When the contractor began work it became apparent that they could not complete it in 200 working days."
Construction on the project will end Oct. 15. It is unknown if the contractor will be finished by then, Magruder said.
"At that point we'll know more," he said.