Bypass construction to take break soon

Highway 65 project should be completed in 2012
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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The Highway 65 bypass construction will take a six-month weather break, starting next month. That’s according to an update provided at the joint area Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs meeting Tuesday at Thunder Valley Hotel and Casino Resort. Of the total bypass project cost of $292 million, $163 million has been spent so far on the project, according to Sam Jordan, Caltrans project manager. Eight-hundred working days have been spent on the project so far, with 95 percent of the 17 bridges completed, according to Jordan. The first four miles of the bypass is a four-lane highway, reducing to two lanes at Nelson Lane, according to Jordan, and the project will have six sound walls, three retaining walls and traffic meters at Ferrari Ranch Road and Industrial Road. The project should be completed by summer 2012 and construction will end for the wet season Oct. 15 and resume April 12, according to Jordan. In other news, Thunder Valley Casino spokesman Doug Elmets gave an update about the expanded hotel and casino, saying the casino is now the “length of three football fields.” The meeting took place at the resort’s recently-opened Pano Hall. The casino’s inaugural summer concert series brought in a variety of guests, according to Elmets, “which was good and bad for bringing in revenue” for Thunder Valley. That’s because acts such as Adam Lambert sold out, Elmets said, “but brought in a younger crowd that didn’t spend a significant amount in the casino.” Elmets said Chris Botti, a trumpet player, didn’t sell out but brought in revenue for the resort. “It goes to show marketing and having the right entertainment is the key to success,” Elmets said. As far as expansion goes, the resort still has room to grow, according to Elmets. He said a Mexican restaurant near the hotel “is in the works.” “We have room for additional restaurants and hotel rooms,” Elmets said.