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Nevada road projects won’t be stopped by government shutdown

Updated January 13, 2019 - 11:35 pm

As the partial government shutdown drags on, transportation projects around the state will not hit roadblocks.

Federal funding and with the state highway fund pay for a large portion of Nevada freeway projects each year.

Last year, Nevada Department of Transportation projects received almost $380 million in federal transportation funding, including $373 million from the Federal Highway Administration and $7 million from the Federal Transit Administration. That money will continue to roll out as needed.

“During the current federal government shutdown, the FHWA continues normal operations due to special, contract authority funding,” said NDOT spokesperson Tony Illia. “Prior to the shutdown, NDOT received federal authority for the first quarter of the federal fiscal year, providing short-term FHWA funding for new project obligations.”

NDOT also continues to receive federal reimbursement for previously obligated transportation projects.

Despite that, most FTA staff are currently furloughed, resulting in a delay in federal reimbursement and obligations for rural transit programs administered by NDOT.

“These federal transit programs provide vital transportation services for seniors as well as others needing services in rural areas,” Illia said. “However, despite the delay in federal reimbursement, NDOT is committed to providing ongoing state funding for rural transit services.”

The department maintains a strong balance in the state highway fund due to proactive financial management, which allows continued funding for important road projects during short-term federal government shutdowns or funding lapses.

NDOT carefully manages and prioritizes transportation funds, but longer-term federal funding lapses or insecurity could threaten many Nevada road projects with delays or cancellation.

Not receiving the nearly half of Nevada transportation dollars that comes from federal sources could be devastating to NDOT’s ability to provide for Nevada transportation needs, including the rehabilitation of rural roads.

“Nevada road projects and improvements like these not only help everyone on Nevada roads get safely to where they need to go. They also support jobs and our overall economic vitality,” Illia said.

In previous years, NDOT developed contingency plans to delay or eliminate some future proposed projects should federal transportation money be delayed or unavailable, Illia said.

“At this time, we intend to continue to advance our federal projects but the award of future federal contracts may be delayed due to federal inaction on the necessary project approvals in the federal financial management system,” he said.

U.S. 95 ramp closure

A freeway ramp closure near downtown Las Vegas will affect motorists’ commutes overnight Monday.

The U.S. Highway 95 northbound offramp to Charleston Boulevard will close from 10 p.m. Monday until 5 a.m. Tuesday, NDOT announced Thursday.

The closure is needed to repair a soundwall that was damaged in a truck crash last year.

Gilcrease Avenue closure

A stretch of Gilcrease Avenue in the northwest valley is set to close for over a month.

Gilcrease between Oso Blanca Road and Tapestry Park Street will shut to traffic starting Monday until Feb. 25, NDOT said.

The closure is needed for underground flood control upgrades associated with the $78 million, 6-mile-long widening of U.S. 95 between Ann and Kyle Canyon roads.

The project is set to expand the highway from four to six lanes from Durango Drive to Kyle Canyon Road, construct Elkhorn Road carpool access ramps and build a diverging diamond interchange at Kyle Canyon Road that temporarily shifts traffic to the left side of the road, keeping traffic flowing through two pairs of unimpeded left turns onto and off the freeway.

Construction is scheduled to finish in the fall.

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