March 24, 2018

Boulder City bypass gets green light after asbestos testing shows no threat


Nevada Department of Transportation

This artist’s rendering shows what the redesigned interchange of Boulder City Bypass and U.S. 93 would look like at Railroad Pass. Railroad Pass Casino is at left. If U.S. 93 is designated an interstate between Las Vegas and Phoenix, the bypass route would become part of the interstate, officials say.

Click to enlarge photo

This Nevada Department of Transportation graphic shows the route of the proposed Boulder City Bypass.

After a frustrating seven-month delay to allow for hundreds of tests of asbestos-tainted soil, construction of a bypass highway around Boulder City is back on track.

Officials with the Nevada Department of Transportation and the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada gave the green light after concluding workers could safely cut the highway through the hills around Boulder City because the asbestos, discovered by UNLV geologists in 2011, did not reach harmful levels. Construction is slated to begin in the spring, officials said today.

Asbestos, in strong enough concentrations, can trigger respiratory problems including scarred lungs and, in extreme cases, cancer.

To play it safe, construction zones will be heavily watered to prevent asbestos from becoming airborne and exposing workers. Additionally, there will be continued soil testing and real-time air sampling and, if exposure levels become unacceptable, contactors can halt work and launch additional mitigation, NDOT Project Manager Tony Lorenzi said.

The news “is a relief to everyone,” said Boulder City Mayor Roger Tober. “While initially the asbestos discovery caused alarm, this is just good news. For the levels that are there, there will be some mitigation, but it’s going to be taken care of.”

The $490 million highway project, more than 10 years in the making, would wend around Boulder City so traffic can move smoothly between Las Vegas and Arizona. Until the bypass is built, tourists, truckers and commuters must use U.S. 93, which slices into town where traffic slows miserably on busy days.

The bypass is envisioned as the first link in Interstate 11, a proposed interstate highway connecting Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Testing conducted over the summer confirmed the presence of asbestos but concluded it was not at a threatening level.

The project will be conducted in two phases by NDOT and the RTC. Each agency conducted its own tests to meet their respective regulations.

“Phase 1 is what we are calling clean,” Project Manager Tony Lorenzi said.

The first phase, a 2.5-mile connector starting at U.S. 95 and heading easterly toward the Colorado River, is NDOT”s responsibility. Tests of 150 soil samples showed no asbestos concentrations higher than 0.25 percent, deeming them safe. The second phase — RTC’s 12.5-mile stretch that finishes the bypass to the east — involved testing of 461 samples for concentrations less than 1 percent. Fourteen samples tested above 1 percent.

These concentrations are standard for construction sites where there’s naturally occurring asbestos.

“The most important thing is the comfort of the public,” Lorenzi said. “We want them to know that construction will be done safely, in compliance with every agency. We’re doing it right.”

The asbestos findings will be discussed at an open house from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Elaine K. Smith Center Building, 700 Wyoming St., Boulder City. Representatives from Boulder City, the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce, NDOT and the RTC will be there to discuss the project.


Boulder City bypass gets green light after asbestos testing shows no threat

Asbestos removed as Broad Street Parkway construction continues

NASHUA — So far, about 17,000 cubic yards of asbestos has been mitigated and disposed of during construction on the Broad Street Parkway.

That amount, according to project manager John Vancor, is slightly less than expected. Initially, crews were anticipating that 16,500 cubic yards of asbestos would be encountered and disposed of on site, in addition to 3,000 cubic yards that would have to be taken off of the site for disposal, he said.

“All of the asbestos encountered has been disposed of,” said Vancor, adding two independent teams of professionals are making sure that all asbestos safeguards are in place.

The majority of asbestos has been located within the northern portion of the roadway work, although a small amount has been found elsewhere, according to Vancor.

Aside from the asbestos, crews are now dealing with problems of urban fill found inside certain areas of the project that must also be disposed of, he explained.

Progress on the Broad Street Parkway, a nearly two-mile urban roadway that will provide another crossing over the Nashua River, is moving ahead on schedule and on budget.

“There is quite a bit of activity going on,” Vancor said this week.

He said a retaining wall is being constructed, a new sewer pipe has been installed and a trestle into the river is underway.Earth work has also begun in the north sector of the roadway project, according to Vancor, who has heard complaints about vibrations at nearby buildings.”I know there is a lot of concern,” he said, acknowledging there is quite a bit of ground vibrations. However, he stressed that no blasting is taking place as part of the Broad Street Parkway project.
As construction progresses, he said there are still properties that must be acquired to pave way for the roadway. Acquisition of those properties by the state Department of Transportation is ongoing, said Vancor.There are some surplus properties no longer needed for the parkway since its original route was altered. Vancor said those properties must be sold within the next year to help offset the bond, otherwise the money will be returned to the federal government.One of the surplus properties includes the Nashua Police Department’s current training facility.

Alderman-at-Large James Donchess said he would like the city to retain that parcel at 82 Pine St. Ext., questioning Vancor this week on whether keeping that property would be feasible. Donchess also asked whether some of the surplus properties could be leased by the city.

Vancor said he would have to seek clarification on those matters.

In the meantime, he said there is still some demolition that remains at 44 Broad St., a parcel that was previously taken by eminent domain as part of the Broad Street Parkway project but is no longer necessary for the revised path of the roadway.
The parcel, which is now being used as a staging area for one of the parkway contractors, was previously occupied by Mayhem Ink, Aidan James Salon, Wizard Cycles and Gregory J. Fine Flooring and Design. The plot was originally considered for the relocation of the David W. Deane Skateboard Park, but other sites are now being evaluated for the park.The Broad Street Parkway, which will cost about $60 million to complete, will provide another crossing over the Nashua River and allow motorists to bypass Amherst Street, possibly alleviating downtown traffic and potentially attracting more business to the Millyard Technology Park.

Construction includes a new Nashua River Bridge, as well as construction to the Baldwin and Fairmount Street bridges. Work has already begun on Baldwin Street, and the bridge there is expected to be completed by the start of the next school year.

Work on the Fairmount Street Bridge will begin once Baldwin Street is finished, and that section of the project should be completed in about a year. The new Nashua River Bridge will be finished prior to that, with an opening date planned for May 1, 2015.


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Asbestos removed as Broad Street Parkway construction continues

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