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Kingsbury Grade, Spooner Summit set for repair

Greg Risling

A $2 million infrastructure project on perilous Kingsbury Grade is scheduled to begin next week and will continue through the fall.

Portions of State Route 207 and U.S. Highway 50 will undergo a major face-lift – and motorists can expect up to 30-minute delays – starting Monday by the Nevada Department of Transportation. Aesthetic improvements include sidewalk, curb and gutter construction, landscaping and stabilizing nearby slopes.

Work commences on Monday, Aug. 10, when a storm drain system will be replaced on Highway 50 from the Kingsbury Grade intersection to Kahle Drive and Deer Run Court down the hill to Highway 50.

NDOT will operate Sunday through Thursday, between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. The work is expected to be completed by the end of September.

Toward the end of the project’s storm drain phase, existing pedestrian facilities will be modified on or about Aug. 25. During the day, crews will improve sidewalks and gutters on Highway 50 to Kahle Drive and on Kingsbury from Pine Ridge Drive to the Highway 50 junction. NDOT plans to finish the project by mid-October.

“The sidewalks and curbs were getting in poor condition,” said NDOT spokesperson Scott Magruder. “The improvements are for pedestrian safety and accessibility.”

Frehner Construction of Las Vegas was awarded the contract bid last month.

Traffic in both directions will crawl up and down the steep roadway because of lane closures. Pilot vehicles will lead the waiting fleet of automobiles during the construction with delays up to 30 minutes. Residents and business owners will be given access to their respective properties throughout the affected time frames.

Spooner Summit

A seven-mile section of U.S. Highway 50 between Carson City and Lake Tahoe will be repaired next month by the Nevada Department of Transportation.

A routine road maintenance project, whereby an oil-based sealant is applied, caused several accidents in July. The sealant, which expands the life cycle of the asphalt, sprung a leak in different areas and made the road’s surface slippery.

“The product didn’t bond the way we wanted,” said NDOT spokesperson Scott Magruder. “The sealant bled back up through the pavement.”

After washing the road with a detergent, work crews ground the top layer of asphalt that left the four-lane freeway bumpy. Magruder said he has received some complaints about the rough ride from motorists. Crews are expected to level the blacktop in the next two weeks.

In September, NDOT will hire a contractor to repave the seven-mile stretch from the U.S. Highway 395/50 junction to the Douglas County line. Estimates for the project range from $800,000 to $1 million.

Construction will be during the day and drivers might encounter minimal delays.

NDOT is seeking to retrieve approximately $50,000 from the sealant manufacturer, PASS. The product didn’t do its job, added Magruder, and other associated project costs may also be included in the claim.

The project’s schedule was bounced around for a few weeks because of the complaints and the ever-popular Hot August Nights in Reno, which jams western Nevada’s thoroughfares. It was originally to coincide with the installation of a median barrier on the same portion of highway next spring. The $1.6 million concrete snake will slither nine miles up to Spooner Summit and provide a safety cushion on the curvy road. The barrier has been a NDOT blueprint for five years after a series of auto fatalities. The last time the agency built a barrier was in 1987 on Highway 395 near Washoe Hill.

“We have had some head-on collisions on that segment of Highway 50 but by no means is this the most dangerous stretch of roadway in Nevada,” said Magruder. “We wanted to do this all at once but decided not to. This safety project is a good candidate for a barrier.”

The average lifespan for high-altitude asphalt is approximately 10 to 15 years. When water seeps into the cracks, the water freezes and expands underneath the surface. The Nevada strip underwent the same severity and was scheduled for repair in the next five years.


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