The second highway closure in a month begins this week to allow for the installation of additional drainage culverts to mitigate any damage from potential spring flooding.
Spokeswoman Meg Ragonese of the Nevada Department of Transportation said construction begins Friday and will take one week to complete. A section of the highway — a 3.2-mile stretch between Wildes Road, one of the main roads from the highway to Naval Air Station Fallon — and Macari Lane will undergo similar work as was done on U.S. Highway 95. NDOT awarded the contract to Granite Construction of Sparks.
According to Ragonese, Grimes Slough and the Lower Diagonal Drain are being improved to enhance flow of the excess floodwaters to the Stillwater Marsh area. NDOT will install six 6-foot-by-4-foot box drainage culverts underneath the two-lane federal highway to enhance the flow of floodwaters.
“Traffic will be detoured via U.S. 95, Berney Road and Macari Lane and return to U.S. 50 with less than 20 minutes of anticipated extra travel time,” she said. “Motorists should use caution and give extra travel time on Macari Lane for utility relocation work.”
NDOT and Ames Construction installed four concrete triple-box drainage culverts earlier this month underneath U.S. 95 about 12 miles south of Fallon. Ragonese said crews excavated about 3,000 cubic yards of earth, installed 860 feet of new box drainage culverts and repaved the roadway.
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. NDOT closed the highway between Pasture Road and Schurz. Traffic was rerouted through Yerington.
“The improvements will also help reinforce the highway against flooding in future years,” she added.
Ragonese said the total cost to install the culverts on U.S. 95 is about $1.3 million.
Rusty Jardine, Truckee-Caeson Irrigation District’s general manager, said the concrete pour in the floor of the right discharge tube at Lahontan Dam has been completed. An inspection will be conducted today to see if it is safe to release water from the reservoir. He said Thursday if the concrete meets specifications, then the flows will be begin at about 2,800 cubic feet per second next week.
Additionally, work on the dome valve was completed Monday and operations resumed seven hours later. Jardine said the water flows through the power station at the dam.
“Expect large flows in the Carson River toward the end of next week, and it’s planned to continue for several months,” he said.,
Work continues on the cleaning and widening of the diagonal drain project. Jardine said crews are working to connect and provide for a drainage pattern for the Carson Lake area to U.S. 50 and beyond to Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge and eventually to the Carson Sink.
As a further precaution, Jardine said TCID could interrupt the water flow as needed to perform maintenance or re-evaluate the flood mitigation efforts.
“People may see fluctuation of the water flow in the river and canal system,” Jardine said.
Incident Commander Bill Lawry said local farmers completed a berm north of Carson Lake as an added safety feature for the homes in that area. He said the berm, which is about 1-1/2 miles long, 6-feet high and 14-feet wide, and was finished in two days with their own equipment and time.
To prepare for flooding, the county used volunteers to fill 200,000 sandbags and disbursed half that amount; however, in a tour of the low-lying residential areas by the LVN, most homeowners have not removed sandbags from pallets that were left at their residences.
One resident at the end of Phelps Lane said he didn’t need to place sandbags because he doesn’t think the Carson River will rise to his house.
“I’m concerned,” Lawry said. “A lot of people have this wait and see attitude. Eventually, we’ll have water but who knows how much. I like to see them prepared, but it’s a personal decision.”
Lawry said he hopes homeowners know what they’re doing.
“Certainly, I encourage everyone to deploy the sandbags and protect their property,” Jardine added.
Beginning next week, Lawry said a tabletop exercise will be conducted to check both past and future planning requirements.