Handheld cell use illegal when driving

Phase II

Description

Phase 2, NDOT EA 73320, will be the portion of the project that extends from the intersection of the bypass with US 95, approximately 1 mile south of the existing US 93/US 95 interchange, to the western limits of the overall project. The west end of Phase 2 will tie into the Nevada interchange which is under construction as part of the FHWA Hoover Dam Bypass Project. Phase 2 will run around the south and east sides of Boulder City. As the alignment moves north towards Lake Mead it will crest the Eldorado Mountains and then descend down through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area to the Nevada interchange. The overall Phase 2 project length is approximately 12 miles.

Due to the mountainous terrain and environmental constraints associated with the Eldorado Mountains and Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the design criterion for the project has been split into two sections. The eastern section from the US 95 interchange to the Intertie Access Road overpass utilizes a design speed of 70 mph and a 42 foot median between northbound and southbound travel lanes. The remaining portion of the project from the Intertie Access Road to the Nevada interchange has a 55 mph design speed and utilizes a concrete barrier divided section. Phase 2 is anticipated to have an average Year 2031 daily traffic volume of 11,200 vehicles per day.

Project Status

The current plan for Phase 2 is to design the project to a 35% design level and establish the right-of-way requirements for the project. Phase 2 Right-of-Way will require property to be acquired from the City of Boulder City and the National Park Service for right-of-way within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. These right-of-way requirements have been established and have been included in the 35% design plans (completed June 2008). Due to the current economy, funding constraints and estimated cost of approximately $300 million, Phase 2 will be shelved until project funding can be identified and obtained.

Environmental Considerations

Phase 2 consists of numerous environmental mitigations that were listed as part of the Record of Decision. Several key mitigations exist that need to be addressed in more detail as the project progresses.

A final biological assessment, consultation and clearance with the Nevada Division of Wildlife and US Fish and Wildlife Service will need to occur once funding has been secured and a final schedule has been developed. This consultation will include discussion on the treatment of the proposed wildlife crossings for both large bridge structures and smaller culvert/RCB crossings.

As part of the Environmental Impact Statement, an overlook vista was identified as part of the Record of Decision. The preliminary location identified the vista be located at the summit of the Eldorado Ridge. Several concerns with this location include vehicles exiting and entering from the vista into mainline traffic, pedestrian conflicts and additional excavation required. One alternative location recommended for further investigation is a vista overlook on the Eldorado Ridge within Boulder City boundaries, near mainline station 745+00.This would allow for the vista to be located on shallower grades, require less excavation and provide additional funding resources such the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act funds.

Additional construction and design mitigations are listed in the Record of Decision for the project.

Tolling Considerations

A level one tolling and financial feasibility study was performed for the project in fall of 2007. Several tolling/economical scenarios were analyzed; however, all fell well short of providing full financing for the project. In addition, current Nevada legislation does not allow the formation of tolling authorities or tolling of public roads. Once the project regains momentum, reviewing the tolling potential for the project may be revisited as economic, cost-benefit and surrounding land use conditions will have most likely changed. It should also be noted that the Environmental Impact Statement would require a re-evaluation if the project were to become a toll road.