Kingsbury road construction finally ending |

Kingsbury road construction finally ending

Jeff Munson
Morning commuters on Kingsbury Grade wait for up to a half-hour for a pilot car to escort them through a stretch of road construction. Construction should be finished on the $4.8 million project by the end of the week.
Jim Grant/Tahoe Daily Tribune

After two seasons and countless traffic starts and stops, highway improvements along the East Slope of Kingsbury Grade will come to an end this week.

Finishing touches on the $4.8 million Nevada Department of Transportation project that began in spring 2003 included road resurfacing, drainage work and 11 miles worth of guard rail.

When all is said and done the two-season project ran smoothly, despite being nearly a month behind schedule, said NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder.

Reno-based Q & D Construction will likely be charged late fees in the amount of about $2,000 a day because the project was expected to be complete last month. Weather conditions can be factored into the delay and will be considered when the fines are administered, Magruder said.

“The project schedule was 135 working days to complete. They are coming up about on a month behind,” he said. “There are days when weather played a factor so this looks like they are behind at least 20 working days.”

Wait times of up to 30 minutes along the highway were common during the spring, summer and early fall. Still, the highway has a new overlay, drainage problems have been fixed and the new guard rails are now compliant with state safety codes.

Also drawing to an end this season is the $4.1 million road stabilization project along Highway 50 between Bourne Meadow and Zephyr Cove. All four lanes will be opened for winter traffic before construction crews retool for the second round of work beginning in spring, Magruder said.

This project is one of three “bin wall” projects, which are designed to stabilize the ground underneath the roads. Two other “bin wall” projects will begin in April as well as Phase 2 of the first project between Bourne Meadow and Zephyr Cove.

This summer’s project nearly ended in tragedy when pavement underneath a several-ton drilling rig gave way, sending a long metal tower crashing into a home beneath Highway 50 next to Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center.

No one was inside the sizable caretaker’s residence at 678 Highway 50 when the rig toppled into it around 9:30 a.m. The rig operator escaped injuries after jumping out of the machine before it came down on the home.

The rig appeared to have toppled into the house after an old retaining wall gave way and a chunk of pavement as long as the base of the drilling rig broke from the side of the highway.

The construction company, which is the subcontractor to NDOT and the transportation department have yet to iron out who will pay for the damage, Magruder said.

“Obviously the homeowner will be compensated but at this time we don’t know who is at fault and who should pay,” Magruder said.

The Aug. 16 accident closed Highway 50 on and off for two days, as large cranes had to be brought in from California to remove the fallen crane.

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