Budget cuts kill NDOT maintenance projects

Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal

Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal

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The Nevada Department of Transportation will eliminate eight roadway maintenance projects in Nevada in order to make the budget cuts ordered by the Legislature while keeping funding to complete a $154 million expansion of Interstate 15 in Las Vegas.

Six of those projects are in Northern Nevada.

Transportation director Susan Martinovich said during a recent State Senate hearing that taking another $50 million in general fund money from her budget would essentially put the department's preservation and maintenance program on hold for the coming fiscal year.

She said the only maintenance projects going forward in fiscal 2009 will be those funded with federal highway fund money.

The money being taken back is most of the rest of what was originally $170 million in general fund money to jump-start the expansion of I-15 north of the Spaghetti Bowl and expand the Blue Diamond Highway. They have already taken back the $16 million for the Blue Diamond project and another $40 million from the I-15 project.

But since that contract has been signed and the work on I-15 begun, the decision by the governor and lawmakers to take back another $50 million means NDOT must make up the difference by cutting elsewhere.

Martinovich said the only place she had left to cut is the maintenance/preservation program.

Department of transportation spokesman Scott Magruder said the projects on the list are all asphalt overlays designed to keep the roadway from deteriorating. Officials have long argued it is much cheaper to keep roads in good condition than to repair them after they are allowed to deteriorate.

Altogether, eliminating those eight projects will allow $57 million to be moved over to cover the I-15 expansion.

The largest of the projects being eliminated is an overlay of 17 miles of Interstate 15 in southern Nevada from Logandale to the East Mesa interchange estimated at $17.76 million.

The others are all in the north: a 10 mile overlay on Interstate 80 from Rye Patch to Humboldt for $16.9 million and three projects on McCarran Blvd. in Washoe County totaling $8.39 million.

In addition, NDOT canceled an overlay project on Highway 395 from Washoe Hill to Bowers Mansion at the north end of Washoe Valley. The cost of that project, he said, was just over $3 million.

The final two projects combined cost about $14 million and would have resurfaced portions of Highway 95 through Esmeralda County.

- Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.


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