ELKO – When will a secondary access road between Spring Creek and Elko be built?
It’s a question on the minds of commuters when the Lamoille Highway is closed, and becomes a concern during forest fire season.
According to Elko County officials, the project is still in the planning stage. The talks suffered a setback when the Nevada Department of Transportation’s District 3 engineer “left unexpectedly,” which postponed meetings on the subject, County Executive Amanda Osborne said.
“We had a couple of meetings to kick-start the process,” Osborne explained. “Where we left off was to identify a specific route for secondary access [road] and next steps in the process.
Now that NDOT has appointed a new district engineer, Osborne said she expects to resume the meeting in the near future.
Elko County Commissioner Delmo Andreozzi said he believes the project’s funding, alignment and right-of-way acquisition makes a new access road “a long-term solution.” for Spring Creek.
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“I know the staff assess routes and have LiDAR information that helps determine topography,” Andreozzi explained, adding that there are “many, many factors” to consider.
In addition to topography, other factors include public or private land ownership and the location of any exit rights-of-way or their acquisition.
The alignment definition works with rights of way to determine how it “best connects the greater Spring Creek area in and through Elko, or even around it, knowing that there is a river and two railroads to cross. “, did he declare.
Andreozzi suggested the county consider “short-term solutions that have positive impacts on the interim” to address the issue.
“I raised the idea of a median barrier on this segment of the roadway with NDOT on the annual priority projects system,” he said.
A median barrier or alternate route “would help move traffic to, through and around our communities, improving safety and helping to keep traffic moving in the event of an incident of any kind.”
“This road is very important to the greater Spring Creek area for basic access purposes,” Andreozzi continued.
At a January 2021 meeting with NDOT, Elko County Commissioners urged the agency to put a median barrier on the freeway to improve safety and work with the city and school district to plan a route secondary to Spring Creek from Errecart Boulevard.
One idea was for the route to start at the stoplight at the Lamoille Highway, cross Burner Basin and exit at the north end of Vista Grande, Tract 200 section.
According to the Elko County Capital Requirements Summary updated in April, the estimated cost of implementing the secondary access road would be approximately $50 million.
Lamoille Highway is a four-lane state highway connecting Elko to several communities, including Spring Creek, Pleasant Valley, Lamoille, Jiggs, Lee, and South Fork.
According to NDOT Traffic Information Systems, the average annual daily traffic count for 2020 was recorded at 35,300 vehicles from 12th Street and Lamoille Freeway at the intersection of Lamoille and Jiggs Freeways.
On May 3, traffic was halted in both directions on the Lamoille Expressway for approximately two hours after a vehicle accident blocked the lanes. The highway was reopened at 9:30 p.m.
It is one of several incidents that have closed the freeway to four lanes over the years.
Additionally, concerns about wildfires blocking access to Elko in the event of an evacuation and the growth of the Spring Creek community prompted the Spring Creek Association to work on a secondary access road.
“A top priority for the Spring Creek Association is to work with the county, NDOT and others to finalize a secondary road for access into and out of Spring Creek,” said Jessie Bahr, president and CEO of association. “With the growing population in the Spring Creek Valley, access needs to be resolved.”