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Taxpayers likely to pay for graffiti clean up on I-15 bridge
Taxpayers may have to cover the costs to clean up graffiti on a highly visible bridge in the Valley. Video by ktnv.comvideo
North Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Taxpayers may have to cover the costs to clean up graffiti on a highly visible bridge in the Valley.
The Union Pacific railroad bridge across Interstate 15, just south of the Lake Mead Boulevard exit, is covered with graffiti. Driver Warren Hardy called the vandalism an eyesore.
"It brings down the value of the property in Vegas," said Hardy. "It brings down morale."
Thousands of vehicles pass under the structure everyday. Hardy said the bridge got a fresh coat of paint about a year ago, which covered up earlier graffiti. When he drove down the interstate last week, the taggings were back. Hardy said he called the county's graffiti hotline, but the problem hasn't been fixed.
"That's when I called you guys," said Hardy. "Hopefully, you can get to the bottom of this and get this graffiti covered up."
Action News went searching for answers.
Union Pacific is responsible for maintaining the actual tracks; however, the Nevada Department of Transportation owns the bridge and is responsible for its maintenance, said NDOT spokesman Damon Hodge. The state installed special screens to prevent vandalism but they didn't work, Hodge said. NDOT is waiting to install new screens before repainting the bridge, Hodge said.
Taxpayers will likely have to pay for the repairs, unless whoever is responsible is caught, Hodge said. The repair cost is unclear.
Action News sent pictures of the graffiti to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police for analysis. Detective Scott Black, who specializes in gang matters, said the work does not appear to be gang-related, but police noted that vandalizing the bridge is still a crime. Police said the graffiti is likely tagging, where vandals draw their initials or images.
Graffiti is the most costly property damage crime in Southern Nevada, with repair costs totaling about $30 million per year of public and private funds, according to the Metro Police website.
"We got a beautiful freeway, until you get to North Las Vegas," said Hardy.
NDOT said it's still working on a repair schedule.