Driver says county's lax oversight has ripple effect


If you ever want to get seasick while driving a Las Vegas Valley road, there are many options.

Losee Road, between Craig Road and Cheyenne Avenue; Tropicana Avenue, from Interstate 15 to Decatur Boulevard; and pretty much anywhere on Nellis Boulevard, to name a few.

Those heavily traveled roads suffer enormous wear and tear. But there's a unique situation on Durango Drive, between Flamingo and Desert Inn roads, that was brought to my attention by reader Tom Peacock.

It's unique because just one lane out of the six on that one-mile stretch of road is wavier than the Gulf Coast surf during hurricane season.

The inside lane, or fast lane as it is sometimes called, heading northbound on Durango has more bumps than an acne-plagued teenage forehead.

Peacock came to me after asking Clark County officials whether the road could be fixed. His contention was that it appeared to be the fault of the contractor who built it, and they should be held responsible for making it drivable.

In a series of e-mails, a county official told Peacock the ripples in the road were "typical."

"The integrity and structure of the road is sound and will provide many more years of service," one e-mail stated.

Peacock felt the official was dismissive of his complaint and told me, "This is bull sugar."

So I went for a ride with Peacock.

The rippling pavement on Durango is not typical for valley roads. It feels like you are riding over dozens of speed bumps lined up.

Peacock wants the paving contractor to fix the problem. "It shouldn't cost the county anything," he said.

In recent weeks, Peacock said he has noticed the rippling of the pavement in other Durango lanes and feels it could be spreading.

That should be expected. Isn't that what waves do?

I spoke with the county public works department about the problem.

The road was paved about six years ago and has a 20-year life span before any major maintenance should be required, said Bobby Shelton, spokesman for the department.

Wells Cargo was the contractor on the project that saw this section of Durango paved. The cost for the project, which went from Hacienda Avenue to Sahara Avenue, was about $7.1 million.

The project was completed in 2002.

My attempts to get a comment from the company were unsuccessful.

Shelton said that at the time this part of Durango was paved a "profilograph," or rideability test, was done on the pavement. The roadway passed the test and the county's construction inspectors signed off on it.

So what caused the mysterious waves? An earthquake? Hail? A strong wind? A corpulent jogger?

The county doesn't know.

"The county is not completely sure of the cause of this waviness/rippling," Shelton said. "The county is continuing to monitor this section of Durango and will make necessary repairs as repairs are needed and as funding becomes available."

Shelton added that there are no plans to repave Durango in the near future. And even if there were, the county spent $1 million on road maintenance last year and really needs to be spending $25 million to $35 million a year to keep up with today's driving conditions.

So even if the plans were in place, the money probably isn't.

A frustrated Peacock said: "For them (the county) to say they don't know what the flaw is, is insane."

But what bothered Peacock more is his sense that the county was not doing its part to protect the interests of the public.

"They are the watchdogs for the taxpayers," he said. "This road is flawed and they should have called it that way."

Instead they told Peacock it was typical, he said.

The kicker here is that all county roadway projects, including Durango, come with a warranty. But it only lasts one year, dashing any hopes of a free repaving.

The county paid for a 20-year road and only got six years of flat road out of the deal.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call the Road Warrior at 387-2904, or e-mail him at roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com or fmccabe@reviewjournal.com. Please include your phone number.

 

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