Why So Much Road Construction This Summer? - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Why So Much Road Construction This Summer?

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Life is more crowded lately for drivers at the corner of Yori and Linden. There are more cones, on what used to be their turf. Standing on a brand new sidewalk ramp where there used to be a high curb, Street Program Manager Kerrie Koski of the Reno Public Works Department could easily see the positives, telling us, "We're doing the roadways, the sidewalks and pedestrian ramps… look at that mom with her baby in a stroller. Now they can cross the street."

It's a bit strange to celebrate the mass of barriers on a popular street, but like the weather, you can't stop construction season, especially when you consider the alternative. To Koski, the biggest things to fix are "the sewer pipes. Obviously when they stop working, that's not a good thing."

The City of Reno has been facing a dire situation, underground. Throughout the city are 50-year-old sewer pipes, made of clay and falling apart. And like the rest of us, the people who put them in 50 years ago had no idea how big our city would get. Digging up streets, Koski's crews not only found disintegrated sewer pipes, "We found areas where there were no sewer pipes at all."

In replacing the pipes, Koski told us "We put in the larger diameter pipes to address future growth in the city." This street is just a small part of the 10 miles of sewer pipe replaced in Reno this summer alone. Other streets where they had to be fixed: California St., Mayberry and West Plumb.

Across town, there's another sea of orange on a tattered street. Words are probably being muttered in car after car on Sutro Street, as drivers encounter the narrow lanes and traffic-stopping work. RTC Senior Engineer Howard Riedl told us, "This project will be done September 13th. But we still have a lot to do."

RTC's makeover on Sutro between 4th St. and Oddie Boulevard began in late June. Today, sidewalks are now on both sides of the street instead of one. And bike lanes will show up there too, cars driving on that stretch of Sutro will go from having four lanes to just two. Riedl says this is for safety reasons: without bike lanes, bikers share street lanes and sometimes swerve in front of cars when they encounter obstructions. Riedl says there's another reason to go from four lanes to two: "We'll get more compliance with the speed limit. The speed limit is 25 miles an hour here, and people go very fast with four lanes."

Back at Yori and Linden, Kerrie Koski says the words we all want to hear: "Just a couple more weeks, bear with us, and you'll have a brand new street." Until then, it's just another rocky road through Reno's long, hot summer of street construction.

Written by John Potter

We have a list of local projects, and the improvements the city of Reno and the Regional Transportation Commission are working on. Click on the link below:


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