Surplus bridge could cut V&T construction costs
The Union Pacific Railroad’s Boulder Branch Bridge in Las Vegas could find a new home in Carson City, as a bridge over Highway 50 for the V&T Railroad reconstruction project.
It’s a proposal that could save the project a lot of money and will be addressed at a meeting of the Nevada Commission for the V&T Railway Wednesday.
Built in the 1960s, the bridge crosses Interstate 15 south of Russel Road in Las Vegas and will be replaced when the freeway is widened, according to Dennis Coyle, senior designer at the Nevada Department of Transportation.
“We haven’t gathered all the information yet,” Coyle said. “We’re working to see that everything is in place and correct. We should know by early next week.”
If the project is feasible, two of the three sections now making up the steel plate and girder bridge will be relocated near Deer Run Road on Carson City’s east side, near the Lyon County line. The bridge will rise between 20 and 25 feet over the highway.
Mayor Ray Masayko, who serves as chairman of the commission, credits Ken Dorr of Capital Engineers in Carson City and officials at the Transportation Department for initiating the project. He said the bridge will require a support post, and isn’t the exact type of bridge as envisioned in the original plans for the V&T, but could save the project a lot of money.
“I’m hoping the Department of Transportation will see the benefit to allowing the commission to acquire what would otherwise be a surplus project,” he said.
“I don’t want to speculate too much, but we can save hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
In other business:
— Plans to extend the rail bed across the Overman Pit in Gold Hill are on hold, pending an environmental assessment from the Transportation Department, according to Coyle. The assessment could be completed some time in the fall and once done, transportation officials will be looking for a consulting firm to create the design.
With property acquisition, construction and the purchasing and restoration of equipment still to come, the $24.4 million project is expected to take two years to complete. Reconstruction costs may be high, but the projected economic benefits should easily out-strip the price tag, according to project supporters.
The commission’s regional economic impact study shows construction of the railroad will add $40.9 million to the regional economy, a number the study says is equal to 885 full-time jobs, for just the two construction seasons.
After the first ticket is sold, the study says, the region will benefit from increased ridership on the train now running between Virginia City and Gold Hill during the summer. Spending by new passengers alone could generate $16.5 million a year, say supporters.
IF YOU GO
What: Nevada Commission for Reconstruction of the V&T Railway
When: 9 a.m. Wednesday
Where: Room 3143, Nevada State Legislative Building, 401 S. Carson St.