State to condemn Lompa property; potential delay?

Carson City's long-sought freeway is facing another potential delay that would slow construction.

State officials still plan to bid the freeway's $136 million first phase from Lakeview Hill to Highway 50 East in December. However, uncertainty over acquisition of the Lompa property, the last large parcel needed for the freeway's first phase, "could definitely delay the project," said state transportation spokesman Scott Magruder,

"We still don't have the land," Magruder said.

The Nevada Department of Transportation will ask its board of directors on Thursday, at the request of the attorney for the Lompa family, to begin a condemnation process on 82 acres of the Lompa Ranch off Fifth Street. The family in July rejected the state's offer of $2.8 million for the property.

Both Magruder and Lompa attorney Laura Fitzsimmons said negotiations would continue despite the beginning of a process that could lead to a trial to fix a price to the property.

"We need to do what's best for the freeway and for the citizens of Carson City, and that is to negotiate," Magruder said.

Fitzsimmons did not make the state a counter offer because, she said, she wasn't provided all the information necessary to help the Lompas make a good decision.

Fitzsimmons said state officials told her they would not seek occupancy on the property, which would allow construction to occur even during a trial, until price for the property is settled. Magruder wouldn't comment on the condemnation process for the Lompa property, saying state officials "don't want to have these negotiations in the media." He said the state is hoping for a settlement instead of a trial.

A 1999 trial over land needed for the freeway's southern interchange at Highway 395 South and the Spooner Summit Junction cost the state $5.8 million for roughly 7 acres at the intersection. The jury valued the property at $22 a square foot, or $847,000 an acre. The Lompas were offered around 78 cents per square foot, or just over $34,000 an acre.

Plans for the Carson City freeway have been in the works for more than 20 years. The four-lane freeway is expected to relieve traffic from congested Carson Street. Four bridges for the first phase of construction were finished this year. Construction on the rest of the first phase has been delayed several times as state officials awaited federal decisions on storm-drainage issues that allowed them to take less of the Lompa property than anticipated. Construction on the project is expected to begin spring 2003.

The freeway's $160 million second phase will complete the project from Highway 50 East to the Spooner Summit Junction. Construction on that phase is expected to begin around 2005 and end in 2010.


What: Nevada Department of Transportation Board of Directors Meeting

When: 11 a.m. Thursday

Where: Nevada Department of Transportation, third floor conference room, 1263 S. Stewart St.


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