Carson City's bypass is under construction.
Although an opening ceremony for the freeway isn't planned until May, Frehner Construction started doing preliminary work Monday.
"'We're finally doing something," said Scott Magruder, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation. "We need to do something to celebrate this momentous occasion, but the project has essentially started."
Crews headed into the freeway right of way to begin clearing the site of trees and sagebrush, doing survey and drainage work and other preliminary tasks.
The right of way will be used as a road for Frehner's trucks during the construction of Phase 1A, Project Manager Randy Evans said. He said the work wouldn't affect traffic until the middle of April.
Magruder said the state is working to pin down a date for the official groundbreaking ceremony involving the governor, mayor and other state and city officials.
Frehner has 430 working days from Monday to finish Phase IA of the project which includes the construction of bridges over College Parkway, Emerson Drive, Northgate Lane and Arrowhead Drive.
Bids for the $90 million Phase 1B of the freeway's northern leg should be posted in February 2001. Construction is slated on the northern leg, which extends from Lakeview Hill to Highway 50, from 2000 to 2003. The second freeway leg from Highway 50 east to the Spooner Summit Junction has a $160 million price tag, and as of yet, no funding. Construction is expected to begin on the southern leg in 2004 and to finish in 2007.
The Nevada Department of Transportation has set up an information hotline and Web site for Carson City freeway information. The 24-hour hotline number is (775) 828-4797. Head to the web at www.ccfreeway.com.