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Culvert permit removes Las Vegas Raiders stadium obstacle

The construction of an NFL stadium in Las Vegas apparently won’t be delayed by an underground flood channel after all.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has signed off on plans to move the flood-control culvert so construction can begin in earnest at the future home of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Clark County Regional Flood Control District officials announced Monday that it received a so-called Section 408 permit from the Corps of Engineers on Friday, allowing the flood channel work to proceed at the 63-acre stadium site at Russell Road and Dean Martin Drive, just west of Interstate 15.

“The approval to move forward on the culvert helps keep the project on schedule,” said Steve Hill, chairman of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board, in an email Tuesday.

The permit from the Corps was required because the culvert is part of a larger flood-control project involving the federal agency and paid for in part with $252 million in federal funds.

In August, district General Manager Steven Parrish warned that the federal review could delay the start of stadium construction.

“I want to thank Colonel Kirk Gibbs, Deputy Engineer David Van Dorpe and the entire Corps staff at the Los Angeles District for working with us and issuing this 408 permission,’’ Parrish said Monday in a written statement. “Nearly all of the southwest part of the Las Vegas Valley drains through that location, so it’s important for us to make sure this work is done correctly.”

The culvert carries stormwater from the Tropicana Detention Basin near Decatur Boulevard and Russell Road to the Flamingo Wash near Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. After making an S-curve through the stadium site, it runs under I-15 and the Excalibur property, crosses the Strip at New York-New York, and runs diagonally beneath MGM Grand and Hard Rock Hotel on its way east to the wash.

Parrish said the section beneath the future home of the Raiders is about 6 feet tall, 15 feet wide and buried roughly 2 feet below the surface. It will need to be moved about 150 feet west to clear the way for construction of the 65,000-seat domed stadium.

The flood control district paid the Corps $120,000 to expedite its Section 408 review, which normally can take 12 to 18 months. The stadium developer has since reimbursed the district for that payment.

The developer also will pick up the tab for the culvert work, which is expected to cost at least $1 million. No tax money will be used to realign the flood channel.

According to Marvin Mai, a civil engineer with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, the flood channel work is expected to take about four months, though the Section 408 permit is valid for up to two years.

The Corps will check on the construction at critical times, but the flood control district and the Clark County Public Works Department will be responsible for inspecting the work, Mai said in an email.

Based on the designs he has seen, Parrish said the relocated culvert should function even better than what was there before.

Stadium developers held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site in mid-November. The goal is to complete the stadium in time for the Raiders to open the NFL season there in 2020.

Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Follow @RefriedBrean on Twitter.

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