North Carson residents hear a humming |

North Carson residents hear a humming

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer
Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal ONYX Operator Allen Hammack waits above ground Friday afternoon, along Imus Lane, as technicians use a truck vacuum to clear drains of rocks, debris and water that accumulated in the freeway's drainage system during recent flooding.

Jon Shambaugh doesn’t put in his hearing aides during the day because of the constant humming sound.

It emanates from giant vacuums being used to suck sand and gravel out of the new freeway’s drainage system.

Recent flooding and inadequate landscaping on the highway slopes near the Arrowhead Drive ramp caused the drainage system along Imus Lane to fill. Crews have worked daily for the last two weeks until 7 at night trying to fix the problem before the freeway opens by mid-February.

Shambaugh, a retired construction worker, said Friday he hasn’t complained about the noise, even though it woke him up on a Sunday morning. His home on Bonanza Drive is across the street from one of the drainage sites.

“I understand why they have to do it,” he said. “We just have to live with it.”

Lennie Boteilho, senior manager for Ames Construction, said five or six vacuum trucks are working on the problem. He said several subcontractors are working on the issue and they hope to have it fixed in a week. The freeway is a Nevada Department of Transportation project.

The humming can get so loud that it shakes Jason Sorlien’s home, causing his dishes to fall over in the kitchen sink.

Sorlien, who lives on Ruby Lane, said the humming noise doesn’t bother him too much because he works in construction. But his wife is bothered by it when she wants to sleep in. The Sorliens live in a home nearest to a blocked drainage site.

The humming sound can clearly be heard in the family’s kitchen. “This is what we hear when we eat dinner and when we’re sleeping,” he said. While standing in the kitchen, a glass full of silverware toppled over into the sink. “See, that’s what happens. You should hear it when two vacuums are going.”

Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Magruder said the work should be completed by next week. The crews were instructed not to work past 7 p.m.

“What they’re doing is blasting out the silt and debris with high-powered water and then vacuuming it out,” he said. “When completed and the freeway is accepted by NDOT, this will not happen again.”

Magruder said the freeway is designed to handle this type of flood problem, but in this case some of the drainage inlets along the freeway in North Carson City were blocked temporarily.

Boteilho said Ames Construction put up fences around the drop inlets in an attempt to keep silt out of the drainage system. The water flow from New Year’s flooding and subsequent rainfall was so high the fences were overwhelmed and debris clogged the drainage system.

NDOT plans to stabilize the freeway slopes with landscaping and rocks so that more debris doesn’t flow into the drains during storms.

— Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.