RENO, Nev. — Memo to motorists using Interstate 580 through Reno: Enjoy your drive this summer, because traveling through town next year will be much more difficult.
The Nevada Department of Transportation last week announced that Q&D Construction was the apparent low bidder for a comprehensive $12.1 million rehabilitation job to remove and replace battered concrete lanes on southbound I-580 from the Spaghetti Bowl to Moana Lane.
Initial work is scheduled to begin this fall on bridges from the Truckee River south to Plumb Lane, but the bulk of the work will start in spring of 2015.
The most likely construction scenario, says Rick Bosch, NDOT’s assistant district engineer of construction for northwestern Nevada, is to route all traffic on I-580 to the northbound lanes to expedite the construction schedule.
Bosch was NDOT’s resident engineer on the extensive Interstate 80 road improvements a few years back that required traffic to shuffle back and forth between lanes so crews from Granite Construction could complete their work.
“There are a few different possibilities,” he says. “We could take the southbound traffic onto northbound lanes separated by concrete barrier rail, and that allows you to fully reconstruct the southbound lanes. Other possibilities would limit production, such as renovating a lane at a time.”
The northbound I-580 widening project, also completed a few years ago, greatly helps with any traffic-shifting configurations. Southbound traffic would be routed onto two of the northbound lanes, Bosch says, leaving between four and five lanes for northbound traffic.
“The thing we learned on I-80 is that when we first started the job and started traffic switches, there was a significant amount of traffic at the beginning,” Bosch says. “It takes people a little bit of time to get used to things. If there is a little bit of delay to travel time, some people are going to take alternate routes. For southbound 395, the alternate routes are limited, but there are other routes people can take.”
“Anyone who drives that section of roadway knows it is in really bad shape,” he adds. “It has a 35-year design life, and we are putting concrete back so we can make these improvement and not have to go in there for quite a while.”
Based on past experience, Bosch says, traffic could be impeded well into late summer — the heart of special event season in northern Nevada.
“We are very aware of the special events, and we will do all we can to complete as much work as possible to prevent impacts to those events,” says Meg Ragonese, NDOT public information officer.
Work is expected to start Sept. 7 beginning with retrofit work on the bridge leading to Reno-Tahoe International Airport. It will continue through the fall with joint replacement and polymer patching on bridges at Plumb Lane, Vassar Street, Mill Street, Glendale Avenue and the Truckee River.
Bridge work is planned for nighttime hours to reduce impacts on motorists.