RTC stalls Roop Stewart decision, sets back Curry construction

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Carson City transportation commissioners continued to leave Roop Street residents worried over the future of their homes in limbo as they delayed again Wednesday a decision on a proposed expansion of Roop Street.

Regional transportation commissioners want another month to take a closer look at extending Stewart Street north through a residential neighborhood.

They postponed in February setting their yearly construction priorities to pursue whether expanding Roop to four lanes would be more of a benefit than modifications to Stewart Street, including turning the two avenues into one-way streets.

Despite indecision on which route to pursue, commissioners set aside $4 million for a project in the area, and pushed their No. 1 priority from last year, a $1.7 million widening of Curry Street, to their third highest priority behind a roughly $2 million expansion of Fairview Drive from two to four lanes between Carson Street and Edmonds Drive.

Commissioners decided to refinance bonds on Graves Lane to garner around $5.5 million to fund high priority projects totaling almost $8 million.

Development Services Director Andy Burnham said the challenge now will be to figure out how to stretch those dollars over all the projects.

Carson Supervisor Richard Staub argued transportation planners have an opportunity now to purchase property north of John Street to connect Stewart Street to Moody Street, a plan which could ease congestion on Roop Street and draw more traffic to the "underutilized" Stewart Street. However, Transportation Manager John Flansberg told commissioners Wednesday a recent study shows while any of six options reviewed to ease traffic congestion in the area would help, an expansion of Roop Street would benefit the city and its chronic congestion more in the future.

Staub argued fewer people and property -- a few rental properties and a church eager to sell -- in the Moody Street neighborhood would be inconvenienced by an expansion of Stewart Street than would be affected by expansion of Roop Street. He also argued the city owns most of the expansion right of way on Roop Street and could pursue that project at any time. Commissioner Shelley Aldean agreed the time to look at purchasing property in the area is now if "we feel we'll need those properties in the future."

The bulk of the cost of the $3.8 million Stewart Street extension north of John Street is tied to the purchase of land, and transportation officials will examine more closely the cost of area property to determine whether the Stewart Street extension or the expansion of Roop, estimated at $3.6 million, is more cost effective. Construction on either project could start in spring 2003.

About a dozen Roop Street residents attended the meeting, arguing for officials not to expand Roop as it would force some of them from their homes.

Staub convinced commissioners improving Fairview Drive and giving an widening of South Edmonds Drive a higher priority could pull truck traffic off Carson Street and better prepare the city for the freeway. He also noted with traffic in South Carson increasing and rumored sale of a mobile home park off Old Clear Creek Road east of Highway 395, warranted traffic officials looking at improvements to the intersection of East Clear Creek, Lupin Road and Highway 395.

The transportation commission has had around $720,000 a year to spend on transportation projects as more than half the $3 million collected through a 9-cent gas tax -- about $1.7 million -- is sent directly to the Nevada Department of Transportation as a contribution to help construct the freeway, estimated to be complete by 2010.


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