Monday, June 25, 2012

Northern Nevada freeway nears completion

Looking southwest toward the Galena Creek Bridge, a centerpiece of the soon-to-open U.S. Highway 395/Interstate 580 freeway extension.
BY ADAM ROBERTSON

Anyone driving between Reno and Carson City has seen it—a new stretch of concrete and asphalt winding through the hills north and west of Washoe and Pleasant Valleys; and soon, they will finally be allowed to drive on it.

On Saturday, July 28, the Nevada Department of Transportation will host an event during which walkers, runners, and bicyclists will be allowed to travel the 8.5 miles of the U.S. Highway 395/Interstate 580 freeway extension running from State Route 431 (Mount Rose Highway), in Reno, to the Bowers Mansion Interchange in Washoe Valley. This will be the first and only time pedestrians and cyclists are allowed on the new freeway after it officially opens to traffic in late July or early August.

The event will kick off with a fun run in the northbound lanes at 7 a.m., and music and vendors will line the route. From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., the southbound lanes will be opened to vehicles. NDOT is working with the Governor’s office to schedule a ribbon-cutting event.   

The new freeway uses nine bridges to span the canyons through the hills, including the Galena Creek Bridge, the longest concrete cathedral arch bridge in the world. At 300 feet above the canyon floor, it was the most perilous part of the project, as high winds presented myriad challenges to construction crews.

Composed of three interlocking decks, the NDOT-designed bridge is built to the latest standards and specifications. Built with an eye for aesthetics, the new freeway is meant to blend with the natural landscape and not be an eyesore for Pleasant Valley residents. Steps have also been taken to return the land to its natural state after construction.

More information about the extension project can be found on NDOT’s website freewayextension.com.

Photos by Charlie Johnston

Nevada Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Scott Magruder points to Pleasant Valley, between Reno and Carson City, during a June 20 tour.

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