Feds To Reimburse Most of Nevada's Flood-Damaged Road Costs
Thirteen Nevada counties had road damage because of last winter's floods. But now they're all up and running -- and federal funding is going a long way to keep it that way.
January and February wreaked havoc on Nevada's roads. Flooding washed out roadways, destroyed culverts and eroded slopes above and below major highways. The Nevada Department of Transportation repaired those roads quickly.
"I had never really gone through that type of winter," Thor Dyson, District Engineer NDOT said. "A lot of our staff had no idea that a winter like that could occur."
Those winter storms and flooding came with a price tag of $20 million, paid by the state. Luckily, the federal government is reimbursing almost all of that money.
The Federal Highway Administration has already refunded $3 million, and it will pay another $12 million when transportation emergency funding is available. The state has also applied for $4 million in emergency reimbursement through FEMA, to pay for a series of culverts near Fallon. They were installed on U.S. 95 and U.S. 50 as flood mitigation when the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District had to release massive amounts of water from Lahontan Reservoir to keep Fallon from flooding.
"The community and drivers didn't ever see any damage to our roadway because we were there proactively in advance, making sure to mitigate and put the infrastructure in place," Meg Ragonese, Public Information Officer for NDOT said.
Thirteen of Nevada's 17 counties had damaged roads because of the flooding last winter, stretching from Lake Tahoe to the Utah border.
"Some roads were closed," Dyson said. "We effectively closed them for safety issues but I'm also proud to say that we opened them quickly to get the public back on them."
Dyson says NDOT crews worked 31,000 man hours in January and February. That equals 3.5 years of work.
"The NDOT maintenance staff in northwester Nevada truly just rose to the occasion last year, and we feel ready this year," Dyson said.
The federal funding will not be used for the cost of slope repairs along Highway 50 near Cave Rock, where large boulders fell onto the road. Some of the money will be used to reimburse some repairs at the county and municipal level though, including some of the cost for roadwork along Six Mile Canyon.