March 11, 2016
Welcome to our March update!
To start we would like to let everyone know that yesterday, on March 10th was Nevada's Big Give day. It was a day for people to give to invest in Nevada non-profits to help further their causes along. We did not participate in the "Big Give" as there are fees for these donations and we wanted to give our supporters the opportunity to support our non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization by contributing directly to our cause on our website! Ours is a tax deductible organization and we still have expenses such as our website, office supplies and sometimes getting legal advice on our next steps. If you would like to contribute, please visit our "Home" page or our "Donate Today" page and click on any one of the donate buttons to contribute. Thank you so much for your support!
Recently several of our Board Members had the opportunity to meet with RTC's Garth Oksol and get a tour of the construction site for the SEC. The following is a report on what they learned. Thank you to Coalition Board Members Wayne Sievers and Eric Cole!
Southeast Connector Tour
Commerical Truck Traffic
The RTC has no control over whether commercial truck traffic can use Pembroke Road for locations such as the FedEx terminal at Pembroke and McCarran Roads. Mr. Oksol provided Coalition with the name of the Nevada Department of Transportation Manager who handles the Freight Planning Section. After numerous telephone calls, someone is now working on our concerns to eliminate commercial trucks from using Pembroke and Mira Loma. More to come. (The Coalition is also working on this through other avenues in the City)
According to Mr. Oksol the turn lane radius at Pembroke toward McCarran is not designed for multi trailer commercial vehicles.
Pembroke will remain the two lane country road it is now until at least 2035 when it could be widened to four lands if traffic demands require this.
Traffic Speed and Noise levels
The speed for the SEC is set at 45MPH. The lanes will be 11 feet wide (normally 12 feet) and the road will have sharp curves. These two items will help keep the speed limit at 45 MPH. It is reported by RTC that at that speed limit we will be able to have conversations in our backyards. Will we hear cars driving by, Yes. (Note: A sound wall will be constructed 180 feet from Heron's Landing to the SEC)
Pembroke Stop Light
Where the SEC crosses Pembroke, Pembroke will be elevated 6 feet from where it is today. Construction at Pembroke and SEC will commence from Mid June 2016 until Mid August 2016. Pembroke will be closed to traffic during this period. The road shoulder on the south side of Pembroke just before the golf course entrance is a mud hole. During the summer construction the entrance will be moved west of its current location. Mr. Oksol said he will request asphalt coverage for the muddy road shoulder.
Dirt Pile Levels
The road height will be significantly less than what we see today. The road height is about 18 inches higher than required to compact the road soil by increasing the weight on the top of the prepared dirt road surface. Once compacted, the 18 inches will be removed. The very tall piles we see will also disappear. As road base is brought in the very tall - White Top covered dirt piles are being removed to a Granite Construction owned canyon for disposal. Approvals have been obtained for the White Top soil disposal.
New Wetlands By Hidden Meadows
RTC is creating an eighty acre wetland behind Hidden Meadows. There will be numerous ponds in the wetland that will be filled with water diverted to the north and south as it exits toward Steamboat Creek. These ponds are designed to eliminate pollution from water fowl feces and other things like fertilizer, oil etc. before the water is redirect into Steamboat Creek.
When asked about the new wetlands they are building and why they won't fail like the airport ones did. Mr. Oksol said that RTC will be responsible for the wetlands for at least 10 years and must make an annual report to the Corps on how they are doing. It was understood him to say that RTC must be able to report they are doing well for 3 years with no human intervention. Not exactly clear on this but we think that when the 10 years is up, RTC has to be able to show the wetlands are OK (for 3 years with no help) or they must keep responsibility until they are OK for 3 years.
Mr. Oksol was very open about the failure of the airport wetlands. Among the things they are trying to do differently is to build a nursery on the site well before the trees, etc are planted to give the vegetation time to acclimate to our environment. That way, any plants that aren't doing well never get planted to die later.
Removal of Plant Cages by Hidden Meadows Pond
If you walk around Hidden Meadows pond you will see metal fencing around dead trees on the far side of Steamboat Creek. This was the Airport Authority’s attempt at wetland mitigation that failed. RTC will remove this fencing.
Will The North Road Section be Completed First?
The answer is no. The entire SEC will be opened at one time in 2017. Today’s estimated completion date based on work completed would be winter 2017 but they hope to move up the date from a winter opening.
Even though they plan to open the entire length of the SE Connector at one time, individual sections may be completed before then, such as the section between Pembroke and Veterans Bridge. We are working to find out if completed sections can be made accessible to walking and biking as they are completed.
Pembroke will be closed for 2 months this summer. Everyone will have to use Mira Loma. It was requested of Mr. Oksol that the east end of Mira Loma become a 3 way stop at Hidden Valley. He thought that was a good idea. More to come on that.
Seven decommissioned electric poles are being left behind the Hidden Meadows pond as perches for birds of prey including Eagles and Hawks. Tree piles will be placed as islands along the project for wild animal habitat.
Right of way for the SEC has been obtained through the Butler Ranch.
Next the Coalition attended the meeting last month that was sponsored by Hidden Valley regarding updates on the Flood Project. At that meeting one of the things learned is that the Flood Project finally has some more updated modeling available to see where flooding has happened in the past and where flooding will happen in the future once the flood project has been built. They have posted the videos on YouTube but here is a link to their website where they can also be viewed.
Once on the site you will see under Presentations three videos. One is for the 1997 Flood Event, one is for the 100 year Flood Plain Existing (without flood project) and the last is the 100 Flood Plain (with flood project). Please be aware that none of these scenarios include a "with the SEC" option. That modeling is not done yet and will not be available until April or May. Once that is released to the public we will make sure that it is distributed to everyone.
During this talk it was learned that the City of Reno could not decide on a fee structure for paying for the City's share of this project so the Flood Project is now looking at going to the legislature for a sales tax increase with the added possible funding of, lets say "flood fees" for those who directly benefit from the project. Could be handled through, say your TMWA bill. In other words, the closer you are to flooding the more you pay in these fees. The further away, the less you pay. It appears that all of this is very much in the air right now and nothing has been settled in regards to either a sales tax or the benefit fee.
Last, the Coalition has not been made aware of any current plans for development in the areas we are concerned about, however we have been made aware of projects that have not met their approved design features (mainly the Manke project which is the RV storage facility on the corner of Pembroke and McCarran). We are working to make City officials aware of these issues.