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Lake Mead Faces Backlog In Maintenance Projects

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Ken Lund/Flickr
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A recent report from the National Park Service detailed the millions in maintenance needed in our national parks.

Nationally, it's nearly $12 billion worth of upkeep.

That includes some hefty needs locally. The Lake Mead National Recreation Area is looking at more than $170 million in deferred maintenance.

Bruce Nyhuis, chief of engineering and maintenance at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, told KNPR's State of Nevada that the needed maintenance runs the gamut from restrooms to campgrounds. 

However, he said the biggest expense is probably paved roads. 

"For instance, down at Willow Beach, we have a road that is in pretty bad shape," he said, but the recreation area may not see the money for that repair until 2019. 

Currently, crews are working on a road at Katherine's Landing, which is a $11 million project. 

"Some of them have been deferred for longer than five or 10 years," he explained. "There is only so much money for large capital projects like roads"

He said maintaining the park is like maintaining your house only on a much bigger scale: the work is never done. Just like with a house, when one puts off fixing something, it often leads to unexpected problems that end up costing more money.  

Nyhuis said if they were able to start work now on all the projects, it would take a decade to get them all done. 

Bruce Nyhuis, chief of engineering and maintenance, Lake Mead National Recreation Area

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Casey Morell is the coordinating producer of Nevada Public Radio's flagship broadcast State of Nevada and one of the station's midday newscast announcers. (He's also been interviewed by Jimmy Fallon, whatever that's worth.)