Boulder City bypass project 3 months from startup

The economic development dream for tourism-boosting Interstate 11 has become more concrete. Or is that asphalt?

First designated in the 2012 Surface Transportation Act, I-11 has been on local leaders’ radar for years.

Now, the hopes of linking Phoenix with Las Vegas with the first piece of an interstate highway is just three months from startup and three years from reality.

The contract for the second portion of the two-phase Boulder City bypass project — the first new infrastructure for I-11 — was awarded by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada on Thursday.

Commissioners voted unanimously without debate on the $235 million contract to Las Vegas Paving.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the four-lane highway is expected to occur in April with construction beginning in May. Completion of the project is expected by early 2018.

The contract awarded Thursday is the second piece of the project. The first phase of the bypass is under the supervision of the Nevada Transportation Department, and a contract was awarded Monday for $83 million to Fisher Sand &Gravel, Dickinson, N.D.

The transportation commission’s contract is for the 12.5-mile section north and east from the O’Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge over the Colorado River. The new highway will be routed through the Eldorado Mountains, then south of Boulder City, looping north over U.S. Highway 95 near the Railroad Pass Casino.

The 2.5 miles closest to Las Vegas near Railroad Pass is the state’s portion of the project.

The project was divided into two phases because they’re being built with two different funding sources. The transportation commission’s section primarily will use revenue generated locally through fuel-tax indexing funds. The state’s portion includes state and federal highway funding.

The two highway sections will have different road surfaces. The state’s section will use concrete after the state calculated life cycle equivalency costs and determined that the concrete would last longer and was therefore a better deal financially.

The transportation commission’s portion of the highway will have an asphalt surface.

Las Vegas Paving offered a bid to use asphalt on the Transportation Department’s section, but after the life-cycle equivalency was calculated, Fisher’s bid prevailed.

Officials with Las Vegas Paving said they have no plans to challenge the awarding of the bid for the state section, which could have delayed the start of the project.

In other business Thursday, the commission board gave General Manager Tina Quigley a raise after conducting a performance evaluation.

Commissioners voted unanimously to offer a 5 percent pay increase, from $211,151 a year to $222,265. Quigley also received a 3 percent, $6,350 bonus for her work in 2014.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta.