LAS VEGAS (AP) — A newspaper's investigation has determined Nevada taxpayers got stuck with a $700,000 bill to fix the flawed installation of fences along a highway intended to protect the threatened Mojave desert tortoise north of Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Friday faulty culvert drainage built in the project along U.S. Highway 95 in 2015 also resulted in the death of one of the federally protected reptiles.
The newspaper found that the Federal Highway Administration, which paid for the repaving project between Indian Springs and Mercury, blocked the Nevada Department of Transportation from using federal funds to fix the fence.
Emails show a federal engineer criticized NDOT biologists and monitors on the project because they were supposed to catch problems with the tortoise protection measures.
NDOT spokesman Tony Illia conceded state workers made a mistake.