Bypassing the weather: Bypass still on schedule despite storms

Nevada Department of Transportation officials say despite the nearly continuous precipitation, neither the Carson bypass nor the USA Parkway projects have been delayed.

“As far as like the flooding, neither of those projects were set back,” said spokesman Meg Ragonese.

She said the extensive drainage system installed at the south end of the bypass project did its job and that damage is really minimal.

She said NDOT, “really kicked into high gear with all the emergency contracts” when the weather hit. Two days before the flooding hit, she said crews started removing and clearing drainages that became clogged.

“We actually staged contractors at quite a few bridges,” Ragonese said.

Ragonese pointed to the crews in downtown Reno using heavy equipment to scoop logs out of the Truckee River before they could clog the bridges through town.

As of Monday, she said all roads in the area were open except State Route 446 at the southern end of Pyramid Lake. She said about 50 feet of that roadway was damaged by the storms, forcing crews to close it down for repairs.

As far as flood damage, all other roads in the valleys are in pretty good shape. Even State Route 342 south of Virginia City was open again after damage to shoulders and guardrails was repaired. Franktown Road in Washoe Valley also suffered damage. Repairs are expected to take a couple of weeks.

Crews also have been inspecting bridges throughout western Nevada and have found no immediate damage or safety concerns. More inspections will be conducted once the floodwaters subside to look for potential damage.

Chains of snow tires were required on all mountain roads including around Lake Tahoe and highways 50 and 89. Highway 89 was closed Monday in Eldorado County because of an avalanche but expected to reopen.

Ragonese urged people to check road conditions before traveling either at or by dialing 511 for up to date information.

Schools across western Nevada were delayed or shut down Monday but expected to be open today. Gov. Brian Sandoval, who is in Washington, D.C. for the National Governor’s Conference meeting, did not declare a snow day.

Around Lake Tahoe, heavy snow triggered an avalanche that shut down a highway just west of Lake Tahoe. Officials warned of continuing avalanche danger at all elevations of the Sierra. Highway 89 between Tahoe City and Alpine Meadows in Placer County closed early Monday morning following a minor avalanche at 2:30 a.m. California Highway Patrol in Truckee reported that two cars were caught in the slide’s path but no one was injured. The slide was 200 feet across and 12 feet high at its termination point, according to CHP.

The heavy snow load from the past five days caused the roof of a liquor store in South Lake Tahoe to collapse Sunday night. The building, located on Harrison Avenue, is likely a total loss, according to the city.

South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue evacuated surrounding buildings, including the nearby Sierra Veterinary Hospital, in order to inspect the buildings.

Elsewhere in California, sunshine and rainbows alternated with thunderclaps, downpours, snow and hail on Monday as the last in a trio of storms broke up over California after flooding roads and homes and trapping people in swamped vehicles.

At least four people died, three were missing and others were rescued from raging floodwaters during the storms that added to impressive amounts of precipitation in a state that has struggled through years of withering drought.

As of Sunday night, downtown Los Angeles had recorded 14 inches of rain since the start of the water year on Oct. 1, just .77 inch less than the seasonal average, and rain continued to fall in the unstable aftermath of the storm front. Long Beach Airport received 3.87 inches of rain by 5 p.m. Sunday, breaking the all-time daily record for rainfall. Los Angeles Airport got 2.78 inches, another single-day record.

Nevada Appeal reporters Geoff Dornan and Molly Moser contributed to this report, along with The Associated Press.


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