Debate over town's second bridge pits neighborhoods against each other

By Karen Woodmansee

Appeal Staff Writer

The need for a second bridge over the Carson River at Dayton threatens to pit neighborhood against neighborhood in Dayton Valley.

Those living south of the river, around Dayton Valley Road, especially the five- to 10-acre lots that back up to federal land, would like to see another bridge built over the river at Cardelli Road, instead of Chaves Lane, the two most-often discussed options.

Many of these residents oppose the Chaves Lane option because they fear it will lead to a "loop" road from Highway 50 to Chaves to Fort Churchill Road, across the river to Bullion, then to Dayton Valley Road, which leads to the first bridge at Highway 50.

Residents of River Road, north of the Carson River, along with those living in the Riverpark and Brookhaven subdivisions would rather see the bridge at Chaves, to avoid traffic congestion on their roads.

Or the bridge could go somewhere else, said engineer and surveyor Jim Hadden, who lives along River Road.

"It could be in neither of those places," he said. "It could go somewhere else entirely."

But the Lyon County Commission voted last March that it would go at Cardelli and in May approved an $18,340 hydraulic analysis study, done by TEC Engineering, focusing on the Cardelli location.

TEC Engineering officials will present the analysis to the commission at Thursday's meeting, with the presentation slated for 10 a.m.

According to Lyon County Engineer Dick Faber, the company will present five different concepts on how to build the bridge, ranging in price from $8 million to $36 million and must be 10 feet above the waterline.

Faber said the bridge would extend from Cardelli Road on the north of the river to Sutro Road on the south, opening access to Dayton Valley Road, creating a smaller "loop" than the Chaves location would.

He said the plans are all schematic concepts, with nothing set in stone.

In February 2007, a meeting at the Dayton Regional Advisory Council drew about 150 people who were opposed to the bridge at Chaves and wanted it at Cardelli. Later, more than 60 people from the north end of the river signed a petition asking that it be put at Chaves.

Now that the number of signatures has grown to 200, Stony Tennant, who spoke up for the Cardelli location, said he is still adamant that is where it should go, and expressed anger at the residents of the north.

"That really irks me, they brought property that was already there," he said. "The planning was there, the engineering was there, the easement was there. They should have checked all that before they bought their property.

He said county officials have confirmed that this issue is developer driven.

"The bridge at Cardelli would be much more useful for the community where it's more centrally located and the most important is for emergency services," he said. "We have run the figures and the bridge at Chaves would be nine miles farther in response time."

Tennant said because the developers of Riverpark planned the bridge at Cardelli before building homes, and deeded the easement to the county, that is where it should be.

"There's no reason for people to go way north when there are no services north of the river," he said. "We feel there was a reason they started out with Cardelli, They put the right-of-way in place - that has been the proposed access for 10 to 12 years. Now (residents) buy the property and now they're complaining, but it was a done deal before that."

Hadden believes the county should do a cost-benefit analysis before spending any more money on the bridge at Cardelli and really study the issue more closely than they have, especially regarding flood possibilities.

"With the dollars they're talking about, it would be stupid not to," he said.

Hadden said the area of the proposed Cardelli crossing is less desirable at an area littered with logs, other telephone poles and downed trees, courtesy of the 1997 flood, which encompassed Cardelli Road to Sutro Road.

He said the area around Chaves would not be as much in the flood plain and would probably be less expensive to build. One concern is that at the Cardelli location, logs will roll under the bridge and cut off the flow of the river, causing even more severe flooding. Also, the new Riverview Elementary School is in that area and would be convenient for parents.

He has a seven-acre lot on the river, where he lives with his wife, Diane, and said where the bridge is planned is the spot where mule deer cross the river.

Hadden acknowledged that the same issues would surface no matter where the bridge was put, but that fewer people would be adversely impacted if it was installed at Chaves.

He also proposed it be placed on BLM land south of the river and east of the school, in a circular area, where there are no houses.

"It will be less expensive, less flood plain and fewer people impacted," he said.

Realtor John Gavin, who has lived on River Road for 30 years, would also rather see the bridge at Chaves, because of planned development at Copper Canyon and Aspen Creek that he said will start again once the housing industry rebounds.

He compared it to the McCarran Loop in Reno, which he said was necessary to serve the entire population

"You're making decisions based on the current population or current traffic flows," he said. "We have to have one that is going to fit the entire metropolitan area here and I just believe that the Chaves bridge or something in that general area is a much more reasonable approach to growth and development in serving the needs of the entire community."

But Tennant said the people south of the river bought their lots long ago with a rural lifestyle in mind, and the bridge at Chaves would lead to a loop road cutting them off from BLM land.

"Now they want to change the plans and put the impact on us," he said. "Not the people who lived out here for years and had other expectations for the future."

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or call 881-7351.


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