Lyon County commission nixes Dayton bridge proposals

There will be no second bridge over the Carson River in Dayton for the foreseeable future.

The Lyon County Commission, citing the high cost and opposition from local residents, decided not to pursue a second bridge over the Carson River.

"When we asked about this, we were looking for a ballpark figure," said Commission Chairman Don Tibbals. "We don't have money to do it. This is outside our budget."

Five different possibilities pegged the cost between $8 and $36 million.

The issue has divided the community between residents on the south end of the river near Dayton Valley Road, who want the bridge at Cardelli Road, and the residents on the north end who want the bridge at Chaves Lane.

Commissioner Phyllis Hunewill brought the two sides together by suggesting that they drop the bridge discussion altogether.

"How important is it to get this bridge in the next two years?" she asked. "...I don't see a real urgency. We don't have the $8 million, much less the $36 million. We're not about to tax you any more for a bridge."

The company studied only the Cardelli location and only the flood and cost issues, without considering traffic or environmental impacts, TEC executive J.R. Hildebrand said. He also declined to say if Cardelli was the only possible location or even the best one.

Hildebrand studied two potential flood events, a 100-year flood, at 36,100 cubic feet per second, and one at 54,150 cfs.

The calculations were based on a model by the Federal Emergency Management Administration, weighing topography, flow, the height of the riverbanks and amount and type of vegetation.

From that model, he looked at five possible configurations: a 700-foot span that would cost $8 million; a 900-foot span that would cost $10.3 million;

A 1,100-foot option would cost $12.7 million and a 1,300 foot span would be $14.98 million.

The final option was a 3,200-foot bridge covering the entire floodway, at a cost of $36.88 million and offering little if any risk, even to the agricultural field.

"It does get extremely expensive at this location to span the entire floodway," Hildebrand said.

He said he used the basic design of the Dayton Valley Road bridge in his calculations, and didn't figure in the cost of a two-lane bridge.

Engineer Jim Hadden, a resident of River Road, said that the homes upstream were built before the bridge easement was granted, and raising the level of the river even a foot would flood those homes.

All the houses upstream were built prior to this bridge being considered.

Tibbals said the commission wanted to put the bridge at Cardelli Road after supporters of the plan turned out in force at a regional advisory board meeting.

Commissioner Bob Milz said that a future road on the Minor ranch was still a possibility, but there was no money for it right now.

County Manager Dennis Stark said that an alternate bridge would be needed in the future, probably 10 or 15 years, and said the process should be improved so the commission can get more community input before spending money.

Tibbals said the commission would not pursue a Dayton bridge again.

"I think with the intensity of people in Dayton we should continue this, but there is not a lot of demand to have the bridge so why don't we find something better to do?"

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


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