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Lemmon Drive to reopen Friday after 6 months of flooding

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Washoe County officials have decided to reopen Lemmon Drive after six months of flooding forced them to close the main roadway.

Earlier in the year, Lemmon Drive was covered in water, but now, much of that water has evaporated. At a Northern Nevada Water Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday, officials said the water in Lemmon Valley has receded about a foot in the last two months.

Washoe County officials said in a release they will reopen sections of Lemmon Drive starting Friday at 2:00 p.m.

They said crews performed some tests where they removed barriers on the eastern side of Lemmon Drive, and those tests were successful, so they decided it is safe to reopen the roadway.

Officials said they will keep a close eye on the water level near Lemmon Drive and if they notice any issues, they will have to close the road again.

Lemmon Valley residents said they are thrilled to have their main roadway back open. Many of them have had to use side streets to get to their homes, which has caused more traffic in the neighborhoods there.

People living there have also had to use an unpaved dirt road instead of Lemmon Drive. Glenn Waddell has lived in Lemmon Valley for 17 years. He said the detour is not only hard to drive on, but he's also concerned about first responders being able to get to his neighborhood quickly in the event of an emergency.

Waddell said, "for ambulances and fire trucks and policeman, they have to do the same thing and then they put us on this dirt road over here and the county won't maintain it. They put a blade on it one time and it's so washboard-ey that it's really hard to drive."

Many residents are happy they won't have to use the detour anymore, and they said it's about time. Waddell thinks the county should have reopened Lemmon Drive even sooner.

"They could have done this a long time ago." He said, "they've had pumps out here sitting, sitting and I'm sure we are paying for it. Somebody's paying for it. But they've had some huge pumps out here that have not been working for a month."

As they watch the water recede this summer in Lemmon Valley, Washoe County officials are already looking ahead to next winter.

They said if we get a lot of rain again next year, they may have to close Lemmon Drive. County officials have been saving the sand barriers crews recently removed on Lemmon Drive in case they need to be reinstalled next year.

County officials said they will be putting more lighting on Lemmon Drive and adding some reflectors to the remaining barriers nearby. The speed limit will be 25 mph.

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