New bypass opens today
September 24, 2009
The drive home today may be less of a traffic headache with the opening of the newest portion of the freeway.
A ribbon cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. will mark the grand opening of the two-mile stretch of highway that runs between Highway 50 East and Fairview Drive.
The $45 million project began in the fall of 2007 and includes a full interchange at Highway 50 East and a half-interchange at Fairview Drive. Fifth Street now goes over the freeway. There is also a multi-use walking/bike path to Butti Road.
The six-lane freeway now takes motorists from Fairview Drive from the south all the way to Lakeview Hill to the north of Carson City.
It is expected to take some of the load off Carson Street. An estimated 50,000 cars travel daily down the city’s main north/-
Gov. Jim Gibbons and Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell are expected at the event.
Traffic will be allowed onto the freeway by 3 p.m., said Nevada Department of Transportation Spokesman Scott Magruder.
The next phase of the freeway – which will run parallel to Edmonds Drive and under overpasses for Koontz Lane and Clearview Drive – will extend it three miles to Spooner Summit.
When completed it will run nine miles from the north end of Carson City to the junction with Highway 50 West in the south.
The $160 million needed to complete the freeway has not yet been identified.
Today’s opening of the newest portion of the Carson City Freeway has sheriff’s officials worried that high-speed traffic pouring out onto Fairview Drive will be a recipe for disaster.
“(Drivers) are going to hit the end of the freeway and if they don’t get that signal, they are going to take that corner at 20 mph, head onto Fairview and from there they’ll speed up because the road’s wide,” Chief Deputy Ray Saylo said of the new four lanes on Fairview that run from the freeway’s end to Silver Sage. “They’ll be going anywhere from 40 to 50 when they hit Saliman Road.”
Saylo said extra deputies will be patrolling the area to nab speeders on the stretch between the freeway and Carson Street, and the Nevada Highway Patrol, which has jurisdiction on Carson Street, will also be out in force.
Saylo’s hope is that at the end of October the city will do a traffic study on Fairview Drive and decide whether an intersection warning light like those at Mica Drive and Deer Run Road will be installed to warn freeway exiters that a stop light is ahead.
“The sheer volume of traffic that we’ll have on Fairview is a concern. All of the traffic that we normally see on Carson is going to be dumped onto Fairview,” he said. “But there’s nothing we can do about the traffic on the street, it’s gonna be there, we just have to be prepared for it.”