Since the 1997 flood, Carson City has kept a wary eye on usually calm mountain streams.
While the 1997 flood wasn't as bad as it could have been, the fear of a larger flood prompted the city to look into some serious storm water management planning.
In May the city will begin work on an estimated 15-year storm water diversion plan. Work on the north end of Carson City is done in conjunction with the freeway and means more road work for the construction-beleagured area.
But Mahmood Azad, development services director, thinks the temporary inconvenience will be a huge benefit to the city. The 1997 flood was what Azad calls a 25-year event. Azad said it's not a matter of if Carson will have a 100-year flood event, but when. Azad has worked "every day since Dec. 17, 1998" with the Storm Drainage Advisory Committee to help the city create a 100-year-flood-ready storm drainage system.
A 100-year flood refers to the one chance in 100 that a large flood will occur in any given year.
"Carson City is pretty far behind in storm water management," Azad said. "Most of the state is far behind. We've been plain lucky we haven't had a major event in Carson city. Even the 1986 and 1997 floods weren't major events. These infrastructure projects are the lead into other infrastructure projects the city wants to do."
The freeway's northern leg drainage project is being constructed in two phases. The city recently bid Phase 1 of storm drainage work, anticipating work beginning at the end of May.
The $2.2 million project includes the reconstruction of the Shenandoah detention basin, a storm drainage pipeline through Eagle Valley Ranch Road, a storm water crossing at North Carson Street and Arrowhead Drive and two detention basins in Silver Oak Golf Course.
Although some developers have given some seed money to start the city's drainage program, almost all of the future storm drainage improvements remain unfunded. The Nevada Department of Transportation funded the city's first foray into drainage planning and construction, providing almost $6 million for both phases. The union helps the city, but is also crucial to the freeway, Azad said.
"The drainage will protect the freeway site and future freeway from floods and structure damage," he said. "We want to make sure it's protected from floods from day one."
The drainage will also reduce the amount of water flow through all of East Carson.
Work will cause some traffic disruptions on Bonanza Drive, Eagle Valley Ranch Road and Broadleaf Lane. During drainage construction, traffic on North Carson Street will also be controlled to allow crossings at Broadleaf. Most work will be on the weekends, and the contract for the drainage work states that no major traffic controls can be in place on Carson Street during the summer's major events.
Shenandoah detention basin and the road crossings should be done by the end of September, and work on the golf course detention basins won't begin until November to avoid conflict with the course's busiest season.
Phase 2, also estimated around $2.2 million, includes construction of the Eagle Valley detention basin and the Timberline/Coombs sediment basins. Azad said the city is still in land negotiations for the project, which should start soon after construction on Phase 1 ends.