Pyramid Lake repairs underway, could open in two weeks
Parts of Pyramid Lake could be changed forever as a result of last month's flooding. Roads were washed out, boat ramps were damaged and parts of beaches were washed away.
On Monday, February 13, 2017 crews were repairing one of the many stretches of road damaged in last month's flood.
"They are replacing an old culvert from 1963 to a brand new larger culvert to take more water,” said Don Pelt, Emergency Manager for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.
Along highway 446, there are 11 sites where the roadway needs to be replaced. Its condition is preventing the tribe from opening the lake for business.
“We don't want to let them back out here until it is safe," said Pelt.
The problems go far beyond the highway. One of the major concerns right now is on the lake’s many beaches. Runoff from surrounding hills cut a five foot high, 50 foot wide canyon in the beach. Tribal officials are concerned someone could drive across the beach and unknowingly fall into the canyon.
"We're really looking out for everybody's safety because of the amount of damage that is not just on the highways," said Vinton Hawley, Tribal Chairman for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.
Hawley says fixing everything will take time and money the tribe doesn't necessarily have.
$3 million will be paid for by NDOT for highway repairs. An additional $3 million will go to areas like Sutcliffe drive a guardrail remains hanging and the edge of a road drops off to nothing.
"It has changed the landscape drastically, but we are moving past that," said Hawley.
Not everything will be repaired, but limited parts of the lake could re-open in two weeks. A full opening is expected by April 1st.
Note: This article previously stated NDOT would pay $7 million dollars to repair SR 446. That number was obtained from the PLPT. NDOT corrected the figure, saying only $3 Million would be spent.