Kingsbury Grade improvements end – a month late |

Kingsbury Grade improvements end – a month late

Jeff Munson

After two seasons and countless traffic starts and stops, highway improvements along the east slope of Kingsbury Grade will end this week.

Finishing touches on the $4.8 million Nevada Department of Transportation project that began in spring 2003 included road resurfacing, drainage work and 11 miles of guard rail.

The two-season project ran smoothly, despite being nearly a month behind schedule, said NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder.

Reno-based Q & D Construction will likely be charged late fees in the amount of about $2,000 a day because the project was expected to be completed last month. Weather conditions can be factored into the delay and will be considered when the fines are administered, Magruder said.

“The project schedule was 135 working days to complete. They are coming up about on a month behind,” he said. “There are days when weather played a factor so this looks like they are behind at least 20 working days.”

Wait times of up to 30 minutes along the highway were common during the spring, summer and early fall. Still, the highway has a new overlay, drainage problems have been fixed, and the new guard rails now comply with state safety codes.

Also drawing to an end this season is the $4.1 million road-stabilization project along Highway 50 between Bourne Meadow and Zephyr Cove. All four lanes will be opened for winter traffic before construction crews retool for work beginning in spring, Magruder said.

This project is one of three “bin wall” projects designed to stabilize the ground underneath the roads. Two other bin wall projects will begin in April as well as Phase 2 of the first project between Bourne Meadow and Zephyr Cove.

This summer’s project nearly ended in tragedy when pavement underneath a several-ton drilling rig gave way Aug. 16, sending a long metal tower crashing into a home beneath Highway 50 next to Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center. The accident closed Highway 50 on and off for two days, when large cranes had to be brought in from California to remove the fallen crane.