South Carson Street will become a Carson City-owned road next year.
The Board of Supervisors Thursday approved an amendment to an agreement between the city and the Nevada Department of Transportation that transfers the stretch of Carson Street between Fairview Drive and Snyder Avenue now owned by NDOT to the city in 2017, once the freeway bypass to Spooner junction is open.
Before the transfer, NDOT will conduct about a $1 million in minor maintenance, then give the city $5.1 million already allocated for road repaving once the street changes hands.
The goal is let the city design the repaving project, which will likely narrow the road and make other significant changes because traffic on South Carson Street is expected to drop by nearly half, from 45,000 cars a day to 20,000 to 25,000 daily, once the bypass is open.
The money can only be used for South Carson Street and project construction must begin by 2019.
The amendment also pushes out a $7.1 million payment the city owes NDOT for building the freeway.
That payment is due upon completion of the Spooner interchange, which has yet to be scheduled.
Next, for the city, is development of a conceptual design and cost estimates for the project, funded by the Carson Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
A $75,000 contract with Kimley-Horn, a nationwide design consultant with an office in Reno, is up for approval on CAMPO’s July 13 meeting agenda.
The final design will likely reduce the road to five lanes, two lanes in each direction and a center turn lane, said Patrick Pittenger, Carson City transportation manager.
But other changes are up in the air, including the current frontage road, bicycle and pedestrian features, a median and realignment of Synder Avenue and Appian Way with a traffic signal.
Pittenger said pedestrian safety, in particular, is an ongoing concern on the road.
“There are a lack of safe pedestrian crossings and we have had two pedestrian fatalities there,” he said.
The project will cost more than the $5.1 million being provided by NDOT as part of the approved amendment.
Additional funding will come from the 1/8-cent infrastructure sales tax, utility funds and federal grants such as Transportation Alternatives Program.
During public comment, Chris Carver, a candidate for mayor, said he was opposed to language in the amendment requiring the project be a so-called complete street, which means it will accommodate motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists alike.
“The city has adopted a complete streets program,” said Mayor Bob Crowell.
“True, but we have not yet adopted this street,” said Carver. “Most of us don’t want to narrow the street.”
Maurice White, a candidate for Supervisor in Ward 2, said during public comment that he was concerned about the city taking over property that has hazardous waste on it.
That refers to an underground storage tank located at 4385 South Carson St., a former gas station, Pittenger said.
Pittenger said NDOT has determined the site is stable, and that the city may work with a nearby business to buy the property and reduce the sale price by the cost of remediating the tank.
The city will also likely negotiate with businesses along the corridor to purchase some of the right-of-ways that they now lease from NDOT, said Pittenger.
The amendment was approved by a vote of 4-1, with Supervisor Jim Shirk voting no.