NDOT hopes to break ground on its "superprojects" within 4 years | TahoeDailyTribune.com

NDOT hopes to break ground on its "superprojects" within 4 years

Transportation Director Tom Stephens hopes to break ground on “superprojects” including phase two of the Carson City bypass and I-580, the Reno-Carson City link within four years.

Stephens told the Assembly Ways and Means Committee that Nevada is looking at nearly $1.4 billion in just six “superprojects.” Of that total, he said $445 million would have to come from the state. The rest would be federal funding.

“Our goal is to get construction started in the next four years,” he said.

Four of the six projects are in the Las Vegas area. The largest is the $510 million U.S. 95 project in northwest Las Vegas, expanding the freeway between Las Vegas and the northwest. That freeway is now the most congested in the state.

The other two are both vital to the Carson City area. They are the $250 million needed to finish the freeway between Reno and Carson City and the $160 million for Phase 2 of the Carson City Bypass.

That will extend the bypass from Highway 50 near the Pinon Plaza to Highway 50 at the south end of the capital. Phase 1 from Arrowhead Drive to Highway 50 is under way.

“We’re going to start building some bridges this year,” Stephens told the committee.

Of the two, the freeway between Reno and Carson City is highest on the priority list. And since all but $25 million of its $250 million cost will come from federal funds, it is easiest for the state to fund.

Stephens said the nine-mile stretch between the Mount Rose Highway and the north end of Washoe Valley is “a very difficult project from an engineering standpoint.”

He pointed out that it will have “by far the longest bridge in Nevada” stretching across Galena Creek in Pleasant Valley.

The justification for the work is that it is the only all-weather route connecting Reno with South Lake Tahoe, Douglas and Lyon counties and Carson City. That stretch of road is Nevada’s busiest non-urban highway with more than 32,000 vehicles each day.

According to NDOT projections, travel time between Reno and Carson City will double during the next decade unless the freeway is extended, further aggravating one of the state’s most dangerous stretches of road.

The bypass is designed to relieve congestion on Carson Street. While Phase 1 will keep some trucks and cars from going through downtown, the southern half of the project will provide a route around the portion of the road that passes in front of the state Capitol and Legislature.

But fully half the $160 million cost will come from state funds. Stephens told lawmakers that “we don’t have the money identified yet” for the bypass.

Other “superprojects” include widening Interstate 15 from Las Vegas to the California State Line at $100 million, the U.S. 93 Boulder City bypass for $170 million and the Hoover Dam Bypass at $200 million.

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