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Beneath F1 temporary bridge site, a water main is leaking

Updated March 19, 2024 - 5:00 pm

A leaking water main beneath a footing of a temporary Flamingo Road bridge that had been temporarily set up for the Las Vegas Grand Prix will be replaced next month, leading to more road disruption in the area.

The damaged pipe is noted in a 2023 Grand Prix debriefing report compiled by the Clark County manager’s office, which includes input from stakeholders such as the Las Vegas Valley Water District, the Metropolitan Police Department and the Clark County Fire Department. On Tuesday, County Manager Kevin Schiller gave a presentation to commissioners on developing a better plan for the 2024 race and beyond.

Though the water district noted in the report that the pipe was located under a footing of the bridge, water district spokesman Bronson Mack said it does not believe the bridge caused the damage and blames the leak on aging infrastructure.

“We do not see any direct causation between that temporary bridge and that leak, that is pretty well-isolated on Flamingo,” Mack told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “What we know is the pipeline where the leak occurred is about 50 years old and is now reaching the end of its service life cycle.”

‘That bridge ruined my business’

Wade Bohn, owner of Jay’s Market on the northwest corner of Flamingo and Koval Lane, believes the bridge caused the damaged pipe.

“I got to have the fantastic bridge built right in front of my door that took all of the traffic away from me,” Bohn said during Tuesday’s commission meeting. “That bridge ruined my business. Now next month they’re going to dig up the road because there is a broken pipe that that bridge caused. So now they’re going to break up the road to replace the pipe.”

Mack called the leak’s location in relation to the bridge and the timing of the planned work a coincidence. Contributing factors other than the pipe’s age likely include soil conditions and the pipe in question having previous leaks. While the water district can patch up the leaks, a complete replacement is needed to fully remedy the situation, he said.

With another race planned for November and the area already busy, a full replacement was the best course of action to ensure businesses in the area have reliable water service, Mack said.

“Knowing the activities that are going to be coming up in the years ahead in that area, it’s already a very active area. The best course of action to ensure reliability for water service along that section of Flamingo is to replace that aging pipeline in its entirety,” Mack said.

Work on the project is expected to kick off in April and wrap up by the end of the summer, with Las Vegas Paving the contractor, Mack said. The scope of the work and the cost of the project were not yet available, he said.

The water district last month alerted property owners in the area about the pending work, and the agency plans to continue to work with businesses along the stretch to limit impacts and ensure business access to those properties remaining open during the work, Mack said.

Aside from the leak, the water district recommends a review of the location and design of the temporary bridge because of it affecting valve access and existing infrastructure.

Both Formula 1 and Clark County have confirmed that the 760-foot-long temporary bridge will again be constructed on Flamingo for the 2024 race. It took about a week to construct the bridge in October, with the intersection shut down to traffic over that time. The bridge was in place from late October until February. It was removed between Jan. 21 and Feb. 1, again requiring the shutdown of the intersection to accommodate that work.

The return of the race and the bridge itself is something that Bohn and other business owners aren’t looking forward to seeing next year.

‘We were lucky we survived’

Randy Markin, owner and general manager of Battista’s Hole in the Wall and general manager of Stage Door Casino, both located on Flamingo, said the bridge almost led to the shutdown of his establishments.

“We were lucky we survived,” Markin said during the commission meeting. “And once you kindly had the Flamingo/Koval bridge removed, my business is bustling and back to the level we expect, being in the resort corridor of the famous Las Vegas Strip.”

When it comes down to it, the city doesn’t need the race, Bohn said, but the race needs business owners.

“So, for an hour-and-a-half a year, an hour-and-a-half race, they destroy all of us,” Bohn said. “You can’t get into my business when that bridge is there. It took me an hour-and-54-minutes to get to work, when it normally takes me 20 (minutes). And I couldn’t even get into my property, I had to valet at the Westin. You can’t do this. You can’t allow F1 to destroy all of us.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X.

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