- Associated Press - Thursday, September 11, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Assessment teams tallied 139 flood-damaged homes and put the projected the cost of local road repairs at $667,000 in northeast Clark County, where road crews worked Thursday to reopen a washed-out stretch of Interstate 15 about 50 miles outside Las Vegas.

Officials reported 91 damaged homes in Moapa and on the Moapa Band of Paiutes reservation Thursday after counting 48 damaged homes Wednesday in the downstream Overton and Logandale area.

The Nevada Department of Transportation said the washed-out section of I-15 near Moapa could be repaired enough to open one lane in each direction Friday. Officials say the four-lane divided highway, the key trucking and tourist route between Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, usually averages about 20,000 vehicles a day.

Officials say long-haul trucks will still be detoured onto two-lane highways on a roundabout route that adds 50 miles and several hours of bumper-to-bumper congestion to their trip, while oversized loads heading north are banned altogether.

Officials said they don’t expect to restrict southbound commercial traffic.

Round-the-clock road work began after flash flooding Monday destroyed chunks of I-15 and swept through rural farm communities on the Muddy River. The more than 4 inches of rain that fell in less than two hours in the hard-baked desert hills was the biggest deluge in more than 30 years, the National Weather Service said.

Gov. Brian Sandoval declared a state of emergency Tuesday. Damage assessment teams fanned out Wednesday in Overton and Logandale, and Thursday in the Moapa and tribal area. The green lowland region is dotted with farms and horse stables along the normally lazy river draining toward the Virgin River and the Lake Mead reservoir behind Hoover Dam. The area has a combined population of about 8,500 residents.

Officials also estimated the cost of flood damage and debris cleanup at $427,000 in the dirt-road Sandy Valley community about 35 miles southwest of Las Vegas, Clark County spokeswoman Stacey Welling said.

County lawmakers will be asked Tuesday for an emergency declaration clearing the way to receive state and federal relief funds.

Union Pacific spokesman Aaron Hunt said Thursday that rail freight service between Las Vegas and Salt Lake City resumed after damaged tracks were repaired in the Moapa area.

The storm, spawned by the remnants of Tropical Storm Norbert, dumped heavy rain throughout the Southwest and set a single-day rainfall record Monday in Phoenix.

Authorities opened a serpentine detour through Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park to passenger cars, buses and recreational vehicles.

The Nevada Highway Patrol said northbound trucks will continue to be detoured for at least a week to U.S. 93, Nevada Route 319 and Utah Route 56.

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