Phase 2 bike path could cause uproar

A bike path to accompany Phase 2 of the Carson City freeway could cause an uproar before that project is even designed.

City supervisors on Thursday approved a resolution laying out the major design elements of Phase 2 but insisted a multi-use path be included as part of the design of the freeway's southern leg.

However, that is the one provision of the 15-point resolution with which the Nevada Department of Transportation doesn't agree.

The state's preferred version of adding the path to Phase 2 would be to extend the path from Highway 50 East to Fairview Lane in an alignment agreed upon by the city, state and with direction from the state transportation board.

The state transportation board meets May 9 and will take up the issue of including a path in Phase 1 of the freeway.

The state's part of the resolution isn't assertive enough, Supervisor Kay Bennett said.

"The federal mandate says these paths shall be included in all construction projects. Our resolution should reflect our expectations. Just as we expect overpasses and interchanges, we expect bike and pedestrian paths as well."

The state decision would affect the path in Phase 2. Two city boards Wednesday asked that the state pay for the $3.3 million path in Phase 1.

"We need to resolve issues like the bike path," said Jim Gallegos, the state's freeway manager. "That's one we're still struggling with as a department and a state.

"The politics of this whole bike path thing has been a thorn in my side. The state board meeting in May will give us more information and we can study it more at that point."

Gallegos said not coming to an agreement with the resolution prevents the state from finding a design consultant to start working on Phase 2.

"Unless we can come up with the scope of the cost of the path to agree with what will be included, it will put us at a disagreement later," Gallegos said.

Gallegos also noted that putting a path in the Phase 2 right of way would be difficult because at the freeway's intersections with Fifth Street, Koontz Lane, Clearview Drive and Snyder Avenue are all depressed, with the roads going over the freeway.

"I think the path through this depressed corridor will impact the design," Gallegos said. "It will be hard to fit a 30-foot path in a tight corridor."

The city's version of the resolution asks that the state include the path's funding in Phase 2. The city wants the path to be built, if not within the right of way in a similar alignment, perhaps with Edmonds Drive.

Supervisors and the state accepted the rest of the agreement, which lays out major design elements of the project such as the configuration of the southern interchange at Highway 395 South and Spooner Summit Junction.

"I'm not sure we're ready to be specific about what can and can't be included in the project," Mayor Ray Masayko said. "What we've tried to do is state our interest.

"In a written resolution we can't predict all the issues. It is really critical we give NDOT a strong message that in 2004 when Phase 1B is finished, we want Phase 2 ready to go."

Phase 2 will more than likely be broken into two phases, like Phase 1, of bridge construction and road construction. About $24 million has been set aside by the state for road design and advanced right-of-way costs, Gallegos said.

The five-mile stretch from Highway 50 East to the Spooner Summit Junction is estimated at $160 million, half of the cost probably funded with federal money, Magruder said. The state's goal is to start construction in 2004 or 2005 and end in 2007 or 2008.


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