White Pine County Sheriff’s Office || Blotter Report, December 5th ’17
December 6, 2017
White Pine County Sheriff’s Office || Blotter Report, December 6th ’17
December 7, 2017
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N.D.O.T. Explains why the project on Highway 6 Took SOOOOO Long

I don’t know about all of you, but driving around Ely this entire summer has been a frustrating experience.

At least whenever I’ve attempted to take the “back” way and drive around HWY 6 (past the High School and the Aquatic Center) into town. From the outside looking in, it appeared the Nevada DOT was repeatedly paving that spot, painting it, then tearing it up and re-paving it AGAIN and AGAIN.

Now my grandfather taught me “there’s two sides to every story”. So I contacted Mirak Mehari, Resident Engineer at the local N.D.O.T. office and asked for his “side of the story”.

The following is a series of questions I sent to him, and his responses.

The purpose of this project is to make our Roads and highways better for road users and NDOT’s Mission is providing a better transportation system in Nevada through our unified and dedicated efforts. We understand the inconvenience for the public in a construction season due to the all-Orange color traffic control signs, but it is temporary and is for the safety of the travelling public and workers. Safety is our priority and we continuously work hard to improve the safety of our travelling public in our highways and roads. That being said I would like to give you an update on the project, as of November-17-2017. The project is completed 99%. Now The contractor is mainly working on a project clean up and the only remaining works we have are two Dynamic Message Signs (one at the intersection of US-6 and SR-318) and the second (City of Ely side near the Bobcat water tank) that will probably take two days of installation work. And there will not be a measure lane closure in the future. The cleanup is expected to be completed in 30days.

WPL - QUESTION

1) It *seems* from the outside looking in, that crews have been paving and repaving and repaving the section of highway between the high school and the summit, repeatedly since May of this year. I think folks would like an explanation as to why there has been so much trouble with that spot

N.D.O.T. - ANSWER

This Project is a 23mile project. The general description of the work covered by this project is Cold in place Recycle and plant mix bituminous surface with open grade.

For ordinary public it may look we are paving and repaving and repaving because we messed up in the first time and we are repeating it again,

however that was not what was happening.

In this paving Job there were three stages of paving.

The first

is cold in place recycle, this activity includes milling the old pavement and mixing the cold mill

with a proper amount and grade of Asphalt cement and lime and this paving process goes as you mill the old surface.

this creates a better foundation for the next stage of paving.

The second

paving is the HAM (Hot Asphalt Mix) paving.

A mixture of aggregates and Asphalt is mixed in an Asphalt Mix plant and transported to the street and paved at a 2” thickness.

This is part of the structure of the Road way that carries the traffic loads.

The third

stage of the paving is Open Grade this is a thin layer of ¾” thick different grade of Asphalt and aggregate mixture that

has no structural function but is necessary for the road way to have traction with the wheels of the vehicles.

Hope this helps to clear the confusion.

 
 
 
 
 

WPL - QUESTION

2) After the accident earlier in July that killed several people, what steps are being taken to be sure that crews are properly marking the “prepare to stop” areas? *right after the accident, crews were putting out several speed bumps, signs and even had the highway patrol out with lights flashing, in order to alert people that they needed to prepare to stop. As the months have gone by, they have reverted back to simply having signs out, giving little warning and potentially causing another accident

N.D.O.T. - ANSWER

First, I don’t believe those accidents happened because we were lacking or our in-place traffic control was in deficient.

As you might have noticed part of the project is in a canyon area with a lot of curves and this makes a construction zone challenging.

The highway patrol is always in the project when there is a significant activity going on the project.

Since the project is along 23miles long highway the traffic control devices move from place to place according to the location where

a significant lane closure was required/ existing. And we always make sure by inspecting the in-place traffic control using a checklist

daily twice that all the in-place traffic control is in according to the standard.

Our policy is safety first and we prioritize our public and workers safety.

So, there you have it folks. As Paul Harvey would say "now you know the rest of the story".

White Pine Living TRULY appreciates Resident Engineer Mirak Mehari taking time out of his busy day to talk with us and address these important community issues.

Personally, I would say that I'm satisfied with his answer regarding the seemingly redundant paving project. However, having observed the "safety" precautions personally and by reports of others, I'm not convinced that everything is being done to prevent more tragedies in the future. The fact of the matter is, while Mr. Mehari is required to address those sensitive issues carefully (for legal reasons) the circumstances of the accident earlier this summer were in fact caused both by an in-attentive driver AND poor "prepare to stop" measures by the N.D.O.T.

Proof of that is the fact that they did MORE AFTER the accident occurred. Which means, they could have done that to begin with. And then as time passed and the accident was a distant memory, crews appeared to become lazy and slipped back into minimal signage prior to being forced to stop.

At any rate, lets all drive safe, pay attention and be patient with our friends and neighbors working hard to keep our roads maintained

~ Ian Bullis

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