2017 Storms Could Have Lasting Impacts On Roads - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

2017 Storms Could Have Lasting Impacts On Roads

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The past six weeks have been very challenging for road crews and the Nevada Department of Transportation.  Roads throughout northern Nevada have been closed temporarily, while others remain out of commission.

"What all this flood work means for us it that we're going to be busy for months, and maybe even longer if the weather doesn't let up," Thor Dyson, NDOT District Engineer said.

One lane of westbound Interstate 80 will be closed through Tuesday, while crews cleanup after large amounts of rock and debris washed down from the side of the mountain.

"It's a huge inconvenience to the motorist and I understand that," Dyson said. "I too have been inconvenienced but it's for safety. Sometimes, we flat-out don't have a roadway anymore."

Traffic backs from the west of Mogul to Verdi, before it merges into one lane.  NDOT is doing roadwork between Verdi and the California state line, and Caltrans is doing work on the other side of the border.

"Flooding water has a tremendous impact on the roadway, on the hillside, on the slopes above or near the roadway, on our ditches, on our culverts, our crossings," Dyson said.

U.S. 50 is closed indefinitely, near Cave Rock.  Boulders have rolled onto the road, and the slope remains unstable.  NDOT will keep it closed until they know the remaining boulders do not create any hazards to drivers and the homes below.

"We've got slopes with rocks that could come down, cause harm, cause fatalities," Dyson said. "We don't want that to happen."

Massive erosion happened along Highway 395 Alternate through Pleasant Valley, when water from the Galena Creek cut a new path.  NDOT was able to re-route the water back into the creek bed, saving the highway from washing out.

"We were able to stop this flooding here," Dyson said. "Otherwise, we would've lost 395 Alternate, here in Pleasant Valley. It would have been awful and extremely expensive to the public."

Interstate 80 has been closed many times this winter.  Most of the time, it is because of dangerous winter conditions going through the Donner Pass.  NDOT works with Caltrans during those situations to turn people around before they get to the state line.

"If I'm correct, I-80 has been closed way more times in the last six weeks than it has in the last ten years," Dyson said.

The goal is to keep major roads open.  The short-term answer for some of the problems is patching bad areas of pavement, but the long-term plan could be much more expensive and time-consuming.

"For the long-term, there's going to be some projects that are going to be accelerated so that we have complete paving from one side of the road to the other," Dyson said.

NDOT and its 13 emergency contractors are getting as much work done during the first of this week, while the sun is out.  They're also bracing for another system that could cause even more problems, before the weekend.

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