Cave Rock tunnel project approved |

Cave Rock tunnel project approved

The Nevada Department of Transportation board on Monday approved a $5.68 million contract to build an extension atop the Cave Rock Tunnel entrance to prevent rock falls from blocking traffic or injuring drivers.

The westbound tunnel entrance was blocked in February when a giant — 6 foot by 9 foot — boulder crashed onto the roadway from above.

The winning bid went to Q&D Construction of Sparks, which was charged with completing the project during this summer’s projected three-month construction season.

The main work will be construction of a 27-foot tall, 60-foot long extension of the westbound tunnel entrance to catch any falling rocks before they reach the roadway.

There will be a Public Information meeting Thursday to explain the project to the public at Zephyr Cove Elementary School on Warrior Way. The meeting will run from 4-7 p.m.

Although the bid was a full $1 million more than the engineer’s estimate for the project, it was nearly $2 million less than the next lowest bidder.

In addition, the project includes a series of water quality and erosion control improvements along a 4.6 mile stretch of State Route 28.

If the company completes the project early, they can receive a $15,000 per day incentive up to 20 days or $300,000. But if they go over the construction schedule, they could be penalized $15,000 a day.

During the construction, traffic will be diverted through the eastbound tunnel, providing one lane in each direction.

In addition, the board chaired by Gov. Brian Sandoval approved a $4.67 million project to completely reconstruct and upgrade a truck ramp on the Mount Rose Highway. District Engineer Thor Dyson told the board there have been a couple of instances when a runaway truck went all the way through the existing ramp. The new ramp he said will be “state of the art technology” designed to do a much better job of stopping trucks and other vehicles including cars if they lose their brakes and run out of control. He said the key is a steel mesh he described as like a huge tennis court net to catch and slow vehicles.