Dave Maxwell - A new access road from the Panaca Fire Station to highway 319 was a hot topic at the Lincoln County Board of Highway Commissioners meeting this week.

Dave Maxwell –
A new access road from the Panaca Fire Station to highway 319 was a hot topic at the Lincoln County Board of Highway Commissioners meeting this week.

More discussion was heard Tuesday at the regular meeting of the Lincoln County Board of Highway Commissioners in Pioche concerning building a road from the Panaca Fire Station to intersect with State Route 319.

County Treasurer Shawn Frehner said she has received a right of way permit application from the Nevada Department of Transportation. “The application is quite short,” she said, “and there is generally a traffic study that has to be done, but we can request a waiver for that, and I was told that would more than likely be granted because of the situation we’re in. Just get them the paperwork.”

County Sheriff and Panaca Fire Chief Kerry Lee said having a direct access road to 319 “would be a great help in our response time. It would be nice not to have to go through the neighborhood on Edwards Street to Sixth Street and then to Highway 319. The majority of our calls do take us that way. Having to go through the neighborhood is a bit scary for us, because kids want to come out and see the fire trucks.”

When Governor Brian Sandoval visited Panaca in July and was informed of the situation, he indicated he might be
able to do something to help as well and seems doing so, Lee said. “I have received at least five phone calls from NDOT in getting the necessary paperwork to the county. I think he (Sandoval) put a fire under somebody.”

County Road Supervisor Shane Cheeney said he could design and build the project, but agreed with Lee, the biggest cost is to get the amount of fill dirt needed to make a good approach. All agreed it’s not as simple as just blading from the existing fire station to the highway. However, Lee thought that could be worked out.

Having a new road there, Lee said, “would also be helpful because you could route a lot of people going to Lincoln
High’s softball and baseball fields and not have to go through the neighborhood. It’s not just emergency vehicles that could use that road.”

Commissioner Adam Katschke pointed out another major concern would be emergency vehicles coming up to a major highway and could other vehicles on the highway be stopped in time for fire trucks and ambulances to enter?
“Drivers coming off Panaca Summit may still be going 50 mph when they get there, how will they be stopped?”

Lee said he hoped NDOT would erect something to indicate a fire department crossing. “But we watch too, when we get to an intersection to see if it is clear.”

“Not all emergency traffic needs to go that way,” Lee explained. “Some calls take us the other direction and we would not need to go out to the highway to go to the north or northeast parts of town, but it would relieve well over 80 percent of the traffic.”

County Planning Director Cory Lytle suggested contacting NDOT and asking what kind of engineering would be needed for the project and would NDOT have to do the work or if it could be put out for bid.

He said he would also ask Lincoln County Power to plan for moving some of the power poles that are there.