With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting all portions of life across the world, one thing that will keep on moving is roadwork.
All planned road projects and maintenance in Nevada will continue through the 30-day state shutdown, according to Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Tony Illia.
Work small and large goes on, including the $99 million Interstate 15/215 Beltway interchange project.
The project is underway even though a March 26 groundbreaking ceremony was called off because of the shutdown.
“In fact, we are accelerating work to take advantage of diminished traffic counts wherever possible,” Illia said.
Precautions are in place to keep NDOT employees and contractors on job sites safe.
Crews are adhering to the governor’s public health safety protocols by not congregating in groups of more than 10 and by practicing 6-foot social distancing, which sometimes requires work to be staggered into multiple shifts.
“Department staff is telecommuting wherever possible as a preventative precaution, plus suspending all nonessential meetings and travel,” Illia said.
State highway rest areas remain open, with disinfectant cleanings occurring as often as hourly, Illia said.
The Department of Transportation has temporarily halted in-person services and is transitioning affected services online. It is creating a special page on its website.
Visitors can access contracts, agreements, over-dimensional vehicle permits, state maps and reporting pertaining to disadvantaged business and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Public meetings will also be posted, although none are currently scheduled, Illia said.
NDOT staffers routinely train for emergency scenarios to maintain service during crises. The department’s road operations center continues to work, dispatching highway maintenance and incident response as needed plus reporting road conditions.
Keeping roads operational and constructing new ones are important during trying times so distributors can easily access interstates and transport the goods that are flying off store shelves.
“It keeps a consistent delivery of critical supplies and materials flowing into Southern Nevada, including food and medicine,” Illia said.
A two-month-long project on a stretch of Durango Drive kicked off last week.
Work on Durango between Sahara Avenue and Charleston Boulevard began March 25 and will continue through the next eight weeks, Las Vegas officials announced.
The project includes utility adjustments, milling and paving.
Work will take place between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Buffalo Drive and Fort Apache Road are recommended as alternate routes for northbound and southbound traffic.
Between 3 p.m. and 9 a.m., traffic will be generally restricted to two lanes in each direction, while between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., traffic will generally be restricted to one lane in each direction.
The primary work of milling and overlay repaving will take approximately two weeks, followed by paving and uplift of utilities and manholes so they are flush with the new pavement.
Preliminary work was completed last fall. That included sidewalk improvements to meet federal Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
The current work includes pavement removal and reconstruction, repaving, new traffic delineations and bike lanes.
The city of Las Vegas is managing the estimated $600,000 project, with funding provided by the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission’s fuel revenue indexing tax.