Skeptics thought no one would ever be able to say this about the bypass, but the end is in sight.
Literally. From the nearly completed Snyder Street overpass, one can see where the freeway will finally connect to South Carson Street at Spooner Junction.
That final overpass, a huge amount of drainage work, utility relocations and the outline of the roadway will be finished in June, Project Manager Stephen Lani said Friday.
That leaves just one phase to finish the bypass: the estimated $42 million contract to pave that final stretch. He said NDOT hopes to put that job out to bid this coming winter so the contractor can work through the following two summers and finish in fall 2016.
Completion was moved up nearly a year by the decision not to build the full interchange at Spooner Junction. Instead, an at-grade intersection with signals will funnel bypass traffic back onto U.S. Highway 395 South.
That move also saved $20 million or more — at least for now. Senior NDOT Project Manager Jeff Lerud said that, down the road a few years, plans are to build that interchange when there is money available. But Lani said the intersection will more than handle the traffic load until then.
Lani said this $9.5 million phase was “a lot of water work with a little road on top.” That included a huge culvert under Carson Street to carry water flowing down the mountains to the west into a 38 million-gallon retention basin. That water and flows from a dozen other parts of south Carson City, then flows through a series of drainage systems and eventually to the Carson River.
“This was a lot of water work,” he said in a tour of the project Friday. “The next phase is a huge dirt job.”
To finish the bypass, he said, some 3 million yards of dirt must be moved from the right-of-way to accommodate a base and pavement layer about 2 feet thick.
He said the final road closure forced by the project will happen next week when Ponderosa is cut off, creating the final two cul-de-sacs along the bypass route. In addition to Ponderosa, the project has cut Bigelow, Center, Silver Sage and the Frontage Road along Carson Street.
“There are going to be a lot of cul-de-sacs,” he said in an earlier interview.
Ponderosa will be closed to general traffic but, until the Snyder Street overpass opens, it will remain open for buses and emergency vehicles. Once Snyder is open, streets both north and south of the bypass route will bring cars and trucks to the overpass.
Along the bypass route, there will be room between the concrete barrier and the sound walls for a bike and pedestrian path the city wants to eventually build.
Friday, crews from Granite Construction were pouring the final sections of concrete safety barrier atop the overpass. Once that is done, concrete approach ways to the bridge are poured and safety features installed, crews have only a short stretch of asphalt on Snyder north and south of the overpass to repave.
Once completed, the bypass will greatly relieve the traffic load on Carson Street south of Fairview Drive, where the freeway currently ends. Engineers say that stretch of road is the busiest in Carson City, carrying about 50,000 vehicles a day.