On May 21, Sondra Rosenberg, with the Las Vegas office of the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), presented the 2019 work program for Lincoln County at the County Commission meeting.

One of the plans calls for turn pockets, both north and south, at the entrance from U.S. 93 to the Visitor’s Center at Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge.

NDOT officials said the design of the turn pockets is being worked on at present and should be put into the 2019 work program. But no date was given as to when such work might begin.

After listening to the presentation, Commission Chair Paul Donohue said he feels DOT has not been focusing on the road to Eagle Valley, SR 322, which he thinks should be a high priority.

“It’s a terrible road that just beats my kidneys to death in my work truck. Yet I heard recently, by way of rumor, that at least one of the NDOT officials did take a ride over it and didn’t think it was bad at all. But it is, and as chairman of the Lincoln County Commission I’d like the opportunity to take you on what a bad road is.”

He also complained that “the little areas,” the rural areas statewide, don’t seem to mean as much to NDOT as the heavily populated areas and cities do. “That’s where the populations are, so that’s where the money goes. Our lives matter too,” he said. Then he asked, “Therefore, how do we get attention? Do we have to bark louder? What we hear so often is that our traffic amounts don’t warrant attention, but it does.”

Responding to commissioners’ past requests for improvements to given intersections, NDOT officials have stated that not enough fatalities occur there to warrant consideration.

Donohue noted that, “We need to have our roads fixed [and] if NDOT won’t fix the roads, give it to us. We’ll make it a county road and fix it ourselves.”

He complained that NDOT quite often says it plans to repair roads in Lincoln County, but usually spends most of the annual budget on Clark and Washoe counties.

Donohue added, “We’ve been told wait until next year, at least six times.”

Commissioner Varlin Higbee, a retired NDOT employee, told Rosenberg and her staff, “The base of some of the roads identified roads for repair is falling apart now and not holding. Just putting a chip seal down is only a Band-Aid. Cracks will show up next winter again.”

Rosenberg responded by saying NDOT is planning to do “a full-length critical corridor study of U.S. 93 and identify what we’ve learned from the alternative route study done in 2015 and get it in the prioritization process.” But commissioners didn’t feel that really answered anything.

Donohue noted, “We have been trying for some time to get turn lanes put in at the Y in Panaca, in Alamo (at Great Basin Foods), and in Pioche at the Eagle Valley road junction. We have asked numerous times without action.”

Rosenberg finished her remarks saying she did not know when the issues expressed by the rural counties around the state, including Lincoln County, and the plans being made for those areas, would be dealt with more completely.