Capitol ADA ramp completed |

Capitol ADA ramp completed

A Powerhouse Construction employee paints the Capitol ramp on Monday. The new ramp is Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.
Geoff Dornan / Nevada Appeal |

Because of the weather, it took a lot longer than expected, but the new handicapped access ramp at the rear of the state Capitol is finally ready for its first wheelchair.

Workers put the finishing touches on the structure Monday, painting the new railings.

Contractor Powerhouse Construction planned to take down the fences controlling access to the construction zone today. That means Gov. Brian Sandoval gets his parking spot back. But more importantly, it restores handicapped access to the Capitol that hasn’t been available for one day short of five months

The work began in mid-November and was supposed to be completed by mid-December. But relentless rain and snowstorms completely disrupted that schedule, repeatedly forcing construction crews to shut down the job site.

At one point, heavy rains even warped the plywood forms set up to pour the new ramp, forcing the contractor to rebuild them.

Public Works Manager Gus Nuñez said his office extended the project deadline a total of 87 days because of the bad weather.

“It’s been quite an experience on that job,” he said.

The $86,000 project was badly needed. The original ramp was built in the early 1970s and deteriorating badly. It suffered cracked and flaking concrete and rusty hand railings.

The most serious problem, however, was that it was anything but Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.

Public Works Manager Gus Nuñez said the old ramp was steeper and narrower than the federal law allows under ADA. Also, the nearest access for wheelchair bound people to get onto the sidewalk was more than 50 yards away next to the Nevada State Library and Archives Building.

The new ramp is a full four feet wide and has a slope of 4.8 degrees or less.

In addition, as part of the project, the sidewalk next to the new ramp was redone to provide wheelchair access.

It doesn’t, however, change the fact that, for security reasons, the public can’t drive into the little parking lot behind the Capitol.

Those with mobility problems still have to park several hundred yards away in the lot across the street.