High construction costs could stop Highway 50 interchange project

A new Highway 50 interchange required for a proposed Clear Creek development is set to proceed, if construction bids for the project aren't too high.

"Everything depends on how the bids come out," said Jim Bauserman, spokesman for developer Syncon Homes.

Transportation and steel costs, together with demands for construction materials in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, will mean higher costs than the previous $7 million estimate, Bauserman said.

The project is a coordinated effort between Syncon Homes and the Nevada Department of Transportation, which will provide $1 million.

Syncon has until Dec. 31 to submit plans for the interchange.

"Syncon has met those requirements and we're tying up the loose ends with state lands to acquire easements for the underpass project and access road," Bauserman said.

State officials will be ready to seek bids by the end of the year, said spokesman Scott Magruder.

"Syncon will have to make a business decision after those bids come in," he said.

The interchange is required for Clear Creek's development proposal, which includes 366 single-family homes, 18 time-share homes and a golf course.

The primary issue for state officials is safety. The funding, initially set at $800,000, would have gone for relocation of a truck ramp about four miles west of Highway 395 on Spooner grade.

"Someday, the public will be able to drive up there and turn around safely, compliments of the NDOT and Syncon Homes," Bauserman said.

The project is the subject of a lawsuit before the Nevada Supreme Court after Alpine View home owners sued.

Ninety-two homes were initially proposed for this project, but Syncon received approval for the expanded project from Douglas County commissioners in November 2003.

That approval was challenged in District Court in June 2004, and Judge David Gamble ordered commissioners to deny the project.

The county and developer John Serpa subsequently appealed the ruling to the Nevada Supreme Court, where it is now being considered.

Bauserman said he doesn't expect a decision for a couple of years.

• Contact reporter Susie Vasquez at svasquez@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.


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