U.S. Highway 95 south of Fallon reopened for traffic shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday after being closed for almost a week for flood mitigation improvements.
During that time, the Nevada Department of Transportation primarily routed motorists through Yerington, one of several detours, during the closure.
NDOT awarded the contract to Ames Construction for the installation of four concrete triple-box drainage culverts. On Wednesday afternoon, crews finished paving at each culvert and inspected each site.
“In less than one week, crews excavated approximately 3,000 cubic yards of earth, installed 860 feet of new box drainage culverts and repaved the roadway,” said NDOT spokesperson Meg Ragonese. “The work was completed two days ahead of schedule. The improvements will also help reinforce the highway against flooding in future years.”
Crews installed culverts to aid in the flow of water coming from the V-line canal, the main artery that feeds water from the Carson River to other Lahontan Valley canals. The Truckee-Carson Irrigation District began a drawdown of Lahontan Reservoir in February because of the record snowpack in the Sierra. The drawdown, according to TCID officials, is allowing the reservoir to store more water as well as sending additional water to smaller reservoirs in the valley and to the Stillwater Wildlife Refuge.
TCID, the Churchill County Road Department and out-of-state construction firms built a weir and spillway on the V-line canal east of Diversion Dam to allow water to flow down a channel to Sheckler Reservoir and adjacent Navy range south of Powerline Road, about 10 miles southwest of Fallon. TCID officials expect water to reach U.S. 95 sometime before next week. The water will flow under U.S. 95 through the culverts and then east toward Carson Lake
The installation of the culverts covered a three-mile stretch on U.S. 95 south of Pasture Road with a separation of three miles extending from the first to the fourth culvert.
Ragonese said the total cost to install the culverts is about $1.3 million. Since this is preventative work and not restorative, she said the state will not receive reimbursement from the federal government.
Despite the addition of the culverts, the highway could close because of unexpected flooding over the roadway.
“There is also potential that future storms or rapid spring snow melt-off could cause storm water to flow over and temporarily close the highway,” Ragonese said.
State Route 120 (Pasture Road) and State Route 718 (Curry Road-Lone Tree Road) may also be impacted by floodwaters.”
She said many as 3,000 vehicles travel this section of U.S. 95 every day.