Kingsbury Grade work doubles in cost
Repaving and reconstructing Kingsbury Grade from U.S. Highway 50 in the Tahoe Basin to the top of Daggett Pass will cost nearly double the original engineer’s estimate, the state Board of Transportation was told Monday.
The project originally was estimated at about $8 million to repair and update the 3.86-mile stretch of two-lane blacktop, but the board was told it could be $14 million to $15 million. Assistant NDOT Director John Terry said a number of problems have been discovered that will cost a significant amount to repair, including natural springs flowing under the pavement causing potholes, erosion and other problems.
In addition, he said, drivers’ inability to see oncoming traffic at the Tramway Drive intersection is a safety problem that must be fixed, as are a number of crosswalks in that area that have no lighting. Area sidewalks must also be upgraded to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, Terry said.
The original contract was awarded to Q&D Construction of Reno in June, but Terry said all the changes will require a significant increase in scope and, therefore, funding.
Details of the expanded project will be presented to the NDOT board chaired by Gov. Brian Sandoval in March, Terry said.
Prefacing his remarks by saying “this is literally outside my driveway,” board member Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki asked about how the contract would minimize the disruption to residents who use that road daily and how much time the changes would add to construction.
“For two summers, folks on Kingsbury Grade were incredibly inconvenienced,” he said.
Terry said there will be some road closures during construction but that crews will be working at night to minimize traffic problems. At times, he said, the road might be closed to through traffic but open to locals who need to get to and from home.
Krolicki also asked about disruptions to Heavenly Valley Ski Resort, which has its main Nevada-side entrance at the peak of Kingsbury Grade.
“We won’t be out there constructing in the ski season,” Terry said. “We can’t.”
The plan is to do the work in the spring and fall, Terry said.
Kingsbury Grade winds its way up the side of the Sierra from Foothill Road south of Genoa, over Daggett Pass then down into the Tahoe Basin, where it ends in Stateline.