Lyon commissioner seeks agreement on funding for Six Mile Canyon Road
Appeal Staff Writer
Bob Milz, chairman of the Lyon County Board of Commissioners, raised the possibility of an agreement between Lyon and Storey counties to help pay to maintain Six Mile Canyon Road in the future.
Milz said that in light of the extensive damage to the road caused by the New Year’s Eve flooding, surrounding counties should consider assisting in a small way with road maintenance costs.
“We should try to enter into an agreement with Storey to help with the smaller things, and then get together to get the state to help with that road,” he said.
Milz noted that residents of Lyon and other counties did use the road. In the past he was less certain of how heavily it was traveled. Storey County officials have long claimed the road was used extensively by Lyon County residents as a shortcut to Reno.
There have been disputed accounts of how many Lyon County residents used Six Mile Canyon Road to get to Reno. Storey commission Chairman Greg Hess put the number at about 2,500 going both ways after a count by Storey County officials in 2002. Milz has said a 2004 count by Lyon County officials found about 860 cars traveled the road both ways.
Milz said a discussion with an Nevada Department of Transportation official at a Highway 50 corridor study meeting convinced him action needed to be taken on the road.
He added that the suggestion did not include helping to pay for flood damage, just for normal maintenance after the road is fixed.
“Apparently that road is going to cost as much as $500,000 to repair,” Milz said. “Hopefully (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) will come though.”
Hess welcomed Milz’ offer of help.
“That’s good, that’s what we’ve wanted,” he said. “We had this discussion two years ago, and hopefully we can work together.”
Hess in the past has suggested putting a toll booth at the bottom of Six Mile Canyon Road and charging a toll to commuters, an idea that got a cold reception from Milz. Hess said there wasn’t anything personal in the difference of opinion between the two men.
“Bob Milz is a good friend of mine and he’s a good commissioner,” he said. “He was looking out for his people and I was looking out for who I represent.”
Now that the flooding put Six Mile Canyon Road out of commission for any vehicles, officials from the two counties are ready to talk.
“At this point in time, we don’t even know when Six Mile is going to be open,” Hess said. “We’re hoping that FEMA comes through, but It’s not hurting Storey County to have the road closed. We want to open it as soon as possible, but there is no way we can spend one-tenth of our budget to fix that road.”
Hess said the possibility of flooding is one reason Storey officials have pushed so hard for funding assistance.
“The reason we’ve been harping in the last year or two is we know this had the potential of happening,” he said. “We spent so much on the paving that we didn’t get a chance to work on the culverts.”
Hess estimated that normal maintenance to Six Mile Canyon Road at close to $80,000 to $90,000 per year.
Milz said he has discussed the matter with Storey County Commissioner Bob Kershaw, who has agreed to set up a meeting with Lyon, Storey and Washoe county officials.
“We have interlocal agreements with our sheriff’s departments, and we work together on other issues,” Milz said.
He said the county officials can put a committee together to appeal for state funding for Six Mile Canyon Road.
“The state ought to step up to the plate on these things,” he said. “They can’t expect Storey County to pay for it all. That’s why we pay those heavy taxes at the pump.”
— Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.