Editorial: how long can you wait on Kingsbury?
Sweating and snarling, a steady stream of latecomers trooped into the Douglas County Commission meeting at the administration building in Stateline on Thursday. They could be excused for their tardiness and frayed tempers, having been baking at the top of Kingsbury Grade for more than an hour in the noonday sun.
A trip which routinely takes 25 minutes from Carson Valley to the top of Kingsbury turned into a 75-minute exercise in stop-and-start as motorists dodged road repairs and construction vehicles on both sides of the grade.
By some perverse irony, the speaker at the podium Thursday was none other than Tom Stephens, director of the Nevada Division of Transportation, under whose aegis the Kingsbury Grade repairs were proceeding.
Stephens was telling the board about upcoming roadwork in the state’s budget earmarked Douglas County.
– $8 million to widen Highway 395. Who cares? When is the Kingsbury Grade construction going to be completed?
– Minden-Tahoe Airport projects totaling $1.1 million. Big deal. What about Highway 50 where motorists fared just as badly as their neighbors on Kingsbury?
Stephens, who must have been caught in the road work snare unless he flew or walked to the commissioners’ meeting, promised the board the work would be complete this weekend, with a brief breather before more work starts. Mind you, however, these are the same people who put signs on Kingsbury saying that delays would be 30 minutes or less when, in fact, they were twice that.
Later Thursday, NDOT officials said the repairs would be shutdown if it looked as if motorists would be stopped longer than 30 minutes.
Gaming representatives put in a plea to stop work all together during the week preceding the July 2-4 celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe.
We’d like to speak up on behalf of the non-tourists – the people who used Kingsbury and Highway 50 every day to go to back and forth to work and deserve the same breaks as the tourists. It’s a no-win situation for NDOT. The work has to be done and there’s never going to be a time that is convenient for everyone.
What irritated drivers on Thursday was the fact that a 30-minute wait stretched into at least an hour or more.