Work begins today on Highway 50 interchange | RecordCourier.com

Work begins today on Highway 50 interchange

by Susie Vasquez

Construction starts today on a $6.7 million interchange on Highway 50, just 4.8 miles west of the Highway 395 junction. The project includes a bridge and access roads so drivers can access Clear Creek from Highway 50 without crossing traffic, said Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Magruder.

The state is providing about $1.2 million for the project and private developer Syncon Homes is funding the balance, Magruder said.

“It should be open by the summer of 2007,” he said. “It’s a great example of a private/public partnership. The public benefits because a full interchange will make the road safer, but there are also benefits for the developer. It’s a win-win.”

The contract was awarded to Road and Highway Builders. Drivers can expect some minimal delays, with traffic on the four-lane highway being funneled to one lane in each direction, Magruder said.

Located near a break in the barrier where cars turn around or stop, the area now provides access to a private road for Clear Creek residents. The primary issue is safety for state officials, who would have used the funding, initially set at $800,000, to relocate a truck ramp at that location, Magruder said.

“We felt the proximity to the canyon access was too close to the runaway truck ramp,” Magruder said. “If we complete the interchange we won’t have to relocate the ramp.”

The interchange is also required for Clear Creek Ranch, a development proposal by Syncon that includes 366 single-family homes, 18 time-share homes and a golf course.

The fate of the Clear Creek development in north Douglas County is in limbo, the project steeped in controversy and lawsuits since its first approval by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners in late 2003.

Just 92 homes were initially proposed for this project, but Syncon requested and received approval for the expanded project from Douglas County commissioners in November of 2003.

That approval was challenged in District Court in June of 2004, when Judge David Gamble ruled against the county, ordering commissioners to deny it.

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

Susie Vasquez can be reached at svasquez@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.