Carson City firms stand on freeway

Carson City officials Thursday laid out in a letter what they're willing to do to help lower costs of Phase 1B of the freeway.

The city plans to build wetlands in the Silver Saddle Ranch area to replace those lost in construction of the bypass. The city also offered to build a regional water quality reservoir that would treat storm water before letting water continue to the Carson River. The reservoir may help the state in their dispute with the Federal Emergency Management Agency over the amount of land needed for drainage structures.

In return, the city wants the Nevada Department of Transportation to include the construction of a $3.4 million multi-use path at the base of the freeway as well as add topsoil along the freeway so it can be landscaped.

The plan isn't much different than previous plans, but Mayor Ray Masayko said the proposal to the state needed to be formalized.

"This formalizes it," Masayko said. "It says, move along on the design of phase 1B. (Design has) been in limbo for the last 120 days. We've got to get (the state) to agree in principle, and then the devil is in the details."

Masayko said the city has fulfilled its end of the bargain to help the state with drainage concerns in the Lompa wetlands south of Highway 50 East. The letter, Masayko said, puts the ball in the state's court to decide if Carson City's offer is the help the state wants.

"This includes the features we want," Masayko said.

"It says we've got a deal, we're going forward. NDOT needs to go forward. It's up to them to go ahead and make it happen. Let's move the project forward."

"Things always change with NDOT. We are still saying we've held up our end of the bargain, and these features are to be included."

Masayko said he doesn't know how much the proposal will cost the city, but "we're not going to put out millions of dollars to do this," he said.

Scott Magruder, state transportation spokesman, said Director Tom Stephens was out of town and couldn't respond to the letter.

"We're still looking at it," Magruder said. "We want to continue to meet with the city to resolve the issues."

Masayko and Gov. Kenny Guinn have been working on a solution to some freeway drainage since May.

Guinn presented an idea at the May 9 State Transportation Board meeting to use city land to curb some costs of freeway right of way through the Lompa wetlands south of Highway 50 East.

The state was looking at taking about 119 acres of the Lompa wetlands for the freeway, but changing drainage design has made the number fluctuate.

Guinn proposed the idea as a way to sooth the controversy surrounding Carson City's request that the state pay for the biking/walking path and minimal landscaping along the freeway.

About $92 million of extra funds for the $136 million freeway project is on hold until the next State Transportation Board meeting Sept. 20.

The decision to increase costs for the freeway were delayed in May pending meetings between the mayor and the governor.


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