Bypass path backer says it is on track

A proponent of putting a multi-use path along the Carson City freeway says she is disappointed by the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce's vote last week favoring highway construction even if no path is included.

Anne Macquarie, president of Muscle Powered, said she believes chamber board members, who fear bike and pedestrian paths will delay the long-sought bypass, made their decision without knowing the whole picture.

"I think the chamber made that decision based on incomplete information," she said.

A group consisting of state and city officials, consultants and community members has been working over the last month to come up with a way to put the path in the price of the freeway's construction.

"That group has made a lot of progress," she said. "The latest cost is less than half than Nevada Department of Transportation's original cost estimate for the path/trail. We're working on reducing it even further."

Macquarie said NDOT staff was asked directly if the path would slow construction of the bypass.

"At the last meeting we held, some of the participants asked NDOT point blank whether it (the path) would lead to a delay in the freeway construction," she said. "My recollection of the answer is that it would not lead to a significant delay."

State transportation spokesman Scott Magruder said earlier that there was no guarantee that extra meetings wouldn't delay the second phase of the project.

"We want to keep it in Phase 1B," Magruder said. "It's still being considered to see if it's something that is feasible. There is still a chance it could be separated or taken out of the project altogether.

"We've said that all along. Within the next two months we'll have a better idea if it will be in Phase 1B or not."

The first phase of the bypass will go forward regardless of the bike path.

Construction will start on the bridge-building portion of the freeway next month followed by a ceremony in the second week of April, Magruder said.

The city and the state are hosting a meeting April 5 to show the public the latest plans for the path. The path's price tag, once estimated a $7.5 million for 3.8 miles, has dropped to $3.45 million. Neither the state nor Carson City has committed to funding the project.

Macquarie said the cost may be reduced further.

The $7.5 million price tag forced the state to consider pulling the path from its plan, a move which sparked protests from cycling and landscaping backers.

The State Board of Transportation is tentatively scheduled to hear the issue on May 9.

Supervisors Robin Williamson and Jon Plank recently presented Gov. Kenny Guinn with almost 400 cards and petition signatures in support of the path. Carson supervisors have also issued a proclamation supporting a landscaped path along the freeway.

What: Carson City and the Nevada Department of Transportation public meeting on the freeway multi-use path

When: April 5, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: The Community Center's Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.


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