Weekend paving halted on South Carson

A repeat of Sunday's traffic jam on Carson City's main thoroughfare has been averted.

Because of the nightmare traffic snarl, daytime paving will not be allowed on South Carson Street again, a state transportation spokesman said Monday.

"We didn't think it would be this bad. (We) apologize to inconvenienced motorists and businesses that were inconvenienced," said Scott Magruder, spokesman for the Nevada Transportation Department.

The state had planned to allow Granite Construction Co. to pave again during the day Sunday to capitalize on warm temperatures necessary for the $2.2 million project. Temperatures around 60 degrees are ideal for paving, and with temperatures dipping into the 30s and 40s in recent evenings, contractors aren't able to complete work as quickly as they can in daylight.

Allowing Granite Construction to take advantage of a sleepy Sunday and 76-degree weather to pave during the day instead of at night seemed like a good idea at the time.

However, little warning or access was given to businesses. Add traffic traveling from the last day of the Reno Air Races and to the Basque festival in Fuji Park, and the result was a snarl of traffic that tied up the city's south end for hours.

Only businesses belonging to the Carson City Chamber of Commerce received advance word of the day-time construction work.

Tanice Copeland, assistant director of Hollywood Video, 4326 S. Carson St., said customers who made it to the store Sunday complained of 45-minute waits in traffic.

"I know they're doing their job, but it's hard when they're totally blocking off our shopping center," Copeland said.

Store director April Harris said the video store took a double hit to business in lost customers Sunday and removing late fees from those who couldn't get to the store to turn in their videos.

Mark Shepler, manager of Grand Central Pizza and Pasta, said traffic was backed up on the small access road to the east of his business just trying to access Clearview Drive. Deliveries to Indian Hills from the restaurant usually take 15 minutes. After one delivery driver got caught in the traffic for 45 minutes, Shepler canceled deliveries for the rest of the day.

At Michael Hohl Motor Co., salesmen Jim Viola and Julius Miller said they figure the construction cost the store around four car sales. The sales staff became traffic directors trying to keep cars from using the store's lot for U-turns and shortcuts.

"There was so much traffic, it was totally unforgivable," Miller said.

The Transportation Department has scheduled most of its paving contracts as nighttime work for about seven years. Magruder said officials approached Granite with the daytime paving proposal because they were concerned the company might not complete the paving work in time to meet an October deadline.

The Transportation Department has a policy that traffic should not be stopped for more than half an hour during construction jobs. Magruder said he didn't know why Sunday's work wasn't stopped when reports surfaced of hour-long delays.


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