State board told some Boulder City bypass costs may top $86 million

CARSON CITY — The state Transportation Board learned Monday that condemnation costs for the Boulder City bypass could total $86 million or more for three properties.

They include $60 million or more in inverse condemnation costs for the Jericho Heights property alone. Another
$14 million may be needed for Railroad Pass Casino costs, and $12 million might be required for the K&L Dirt property and relocation.

Jericho Heights is a three-acre piece of land for residential development. NDOT only wants a portion, and its value is estimated at $337,000. But Gov. Brian Sandoval said the inverse condemnation claim, in which the owner is compensated for the loss of the property, could top
$100 million.

The agency is contracting with private attorney Laura Fitzsimmons to help minimize the costs, he said.

“I’m not familiar with what the specifics of that demand are, but given that type of outstanding liability, we obviously have to look at it very carefully,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval, chairman of the Board of Directors overseeing the agency, said there have to be assurances the project will be completed before millions of dollars is spent on condemnation costs.

Phase I of the bypass to Railroad Pass is moving forward, but there is no funding yet for Phase II, which would run south of Boulder City east to the existing Hoover Dam bypass and bridge. Phase II could include a toll road, which is being evaluated by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.

But the Transportation Board was told that tolls from the bypass probably would generate only 25 percent of the cost of construction.

Sandoval said spending money on right-of-way costs without a guarantee of completion could create Nevada’s own “road to nowhere.”

“We want to ensure the money that we’re investing in the first phase of the project is going to be used appropriately, and the response was it’s still a good, solid project even if the toll portion of the project isn’t constructed,” he said after the meeting.

The board was assured by agency staff that phase one of the bypass has benefit on its own, even without the second phase around Boulder City.

The bypass route could become the future Interstate 11, making the investment worthwhile.

“These efforts will not go to waste,” said Rudy Malfabon, director of the Department of Transportation.

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