Let me ask you a couple of questions. When is it OK to deny access to someone’s driveway for months on end while roadwork is being completed? Is it fair to caution-tape their driveways and put No Parking signs in front and to the sides of their residences for weeks at a time? And when is it OK for the city police to threaten residents who have to unload groceries and ferry young children to school and need to park for a limited time in front of their homes?
Over the past six months, from September 2016 to the end of March 2017, this has happened to several families up and down Utah Street and the connecting streets.
Also, how is it legal for the construction crews to dig up Utah Street and the side streets and leave 3-inch drop-offs with no warning cones, yellow tape or signs? There have been residents who have suffered vehicle damage as they have tried to negotiate the battleground of Utah Street. I use the term “battleground” on purpose, because the vibration from heavy equipment has caused the historic houses on Utah Street and adjoining streets to visibly and noisily shake, rattle and roll.
Where was the communication between the city, the construction company and the residents? At the beginning of the construction process, the city helpfully posted flyers on doors notifying residents of upcoming restrictions on access and progress, but these stopped around October. Why was it up to residents to flag down construction supervisors for updates, when the employees only knew what they were working on that day?
A search of the city website (http://www.bcnv.org) finally revealed a weekly status update from public works and engineering on construction work progress. When the citizens were finding the construction difficult this past six months, it might have been helpful for them to know that this limited information was available. The site also points to future work on the La Plata utility conduits on Northridge Drive and La Plata Place and the 69kV transmission loop project, as well as numerous other proposed city projects.
Recent concern has been voiced about the proposed transmission lines to connect two Boulder City electrical substations. One of the plans is for the 69kV overhead lines to travel up Nevada Way, down Avenue I and then down Utah Street. A citizen committee has already been formed by Tom Perkins and Cokie Booth to address the Nevada Way impact, but nobody seems to be speaking for Avenue I, Utah Street or the adjacent streets.
Irrespective of the impact on property values on Utah Street, the negative health impact of living under high-voltage wires is still being decided by the medical community. I hope the continuing meetings regarding this plan will consider re-routing this project out into the desert, around Boulder City and away from residential areas.
We need to ask ourselves: Are we sacrificing property values and health in return for saving the city money?
Angela Smith is a Ph.D. life coach, author and educator who has been resident in Nevada since 1992. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.