RTC approves Boulder Bypass paving contract

The first chunk of new roadway for the dream that is Interstate 11 took another step closer to reality Thursday.

The seven-member Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada voted unanimously to award a $225 million contract to Las Vegas Paving to build a 12-mile section of the Boulder City bypass, a 15-mile loop that would be a part of the proposed I-11.

The bypass is a significant project because it would be the first portion of original roadway for I-11, a proposal to link Mexico and Canada by way of Phoenix and Las Vegas, the two largest metropolitan areas not connected by an interstate highway.

The designated I-11 route would use most of what today is U.S. Highway 93, which already is a four-lane divided highway for most of the 206 miles between Boulder City and Wickenburg, Ariz., that would have to be upgraded to interstate highway specifications.

That means building freeway interchanges and bridges instead of using existing crossing intersections.

Construction is expected to begin on the Boulder City bypass by spring with completion scheduled in 3½ years. The bypass is being built in two simultaneously constructed phases with the Nevada Transportation Department handling the 3-mile portion that is closest to Las Vegas, near the Railroad Pass casino.

The bid for the Transportation Department’s portion of the project will be opened next week.

The split phases of the project are occurring because they’ll have different funding sources, expediting the project. The Transportation Commission’s phase will use revenue generated by fuel-tax indexing funds.

There was no controversy and little discussion about Las Vegas Paving’s bid, which was the lowest priced and best bid from among three submitted. Las Vegas Paving is using CA Group as its lead designer on the project.

The bidders were qualified in a request for qualifications developed in January.

The entire bypass project was delayed about six months when a University of Nevada, Las Vegas geology research team discovered naturally occurring asbestos on some of the bypass construction sites.

The Transportation Department told Boulder City residents in October that they would take special measures to prevent asbestos particles from going airborne and creating a health risk.

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

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