The Road Less Taken. The Shoshone Road Project.

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[ Written by Thomas W. Young, P.E., Reno Location Principal ]

In his notorious poem, Robert Frost proposes that taking “the Road less traveled has made all the difference.”

Recently Lumos & Associates faced a similar situation. When rebuilding a road “less traveled” but of “huge importance.” The Shoshone Road leading to the South Fork Indian Reservation in Nevada required attention to design and safety in keeping with the road’s rural country feel.

Structural upgrades. Narrow passages. Environmental concerns.
No hill for high steppers like Lumos & Associates. But, we do admit that we have built easier roads. This one just happens to be extremely beautiful.

Rebuilding a road that is past its prime can be simple, if you forget the road’s use and proceed with a known standard with little regard to the client’s needs, project cost, environmental considerations, or approval process. However, if you do consider these four items during the project’s design and construction, the project becomes much more complex as the various competing factors are weighed and decisions are made.

Shoshone Road leading to the South Fork Indian Reservation, Nevada is one such project where, attention to a rural low volume design standard allowed for the $4,000,000 reconstruction of nearly five miles of roadway while keeping the road’s rural country feel firmly in place and enhancing safety. Alice Tybo, Chairperson for the South Fork Band commented during our final walk through “you enhanced our road while keeping the character of our community”.

Roadway upgrades included the reconstruction of the existing asphalt concrete and aggregate base structural section following the existing alignment and profile. The narrow portions of the roadway were widened to a minimum of 22 feet and include vertical and horizontal realignments and improvements for a 35 mph speed for the majority of the road. The project included extending existing culverts; adding energy dissipaters at the outlets; and replacing and installing new cattle guards. Shoshone Road passes through some privately owned land surrounded by Tribal Lands. Adjacent property and environmental concerns generally limited the new roadway impact to the existing disturbed area complicating design and limiting construction activities. Lumos and the South Fork Band worked with RHB Construction to utilize locally sourced materials and disposal areas to reduce cost and reduce trucking associated with hauling materials a long distance.

Recently, Lumos prepared thirty percent plans and a TIGER grant application for an additional 4.5 miles of Shoshone Road completing access to the South Fork Indian Reservation.

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