Traffic was backed up from Fifth Street to Highway 50 along Carson City's main thoroughfare Sunday afternoon and evening as paving crews tried to make up time after falling behind schedule.
"We just poured fresh asphalt so you can't cross," a Granite Construction Co. worker told a driver as he tried to turn right onto South Carson Street from Koontz Lane about 3 p.m.
The driver had tried to use Curry Street to bypass bumper-to-bumper traffic on South Carson. However, scores of other drivers had the same idea. Curry was just as jammed as Carson. Silver Sage Drive to the south also carried a slow-moving procession of cars just trying to get across town.
It took most southbound drivers some 45 minutes to get from Fifth Street the junction of Highway 50.
Granite crews are trying to meet a Sept. 23 deadline to finish the paving work. The paving crews usually have worked on weekday evenings when traffic is lighter.
Because southbound drivers on South Carson Street could not turn to reach businesses on the west side of the thoroughfare, the Sunday afternoon was very slow for the restaurants, car dealerships and shops there.
"It was a very bad day for us," said Pail Cain, one of the restaurant managers at Applebee's.
Cain said he was surprised to learn the Saturday and Sunday road work is scheduled to resume next weekend. "I'm going to ask my general manager if we can do something about it," he said.
Scott Magruder said Friday the effort to finish the paving project has turned into a "pave-a-thon." He said the push to get the work done comes just before the expected start of cooler, wet weather which delays the roadwork.
The paving project has been under way all summer in an effort to transform the street from four to six lanes. A third southbound lane will be added from Fairview Drive to Highway 50 and an extra northbound lane will be made from the highway to Steward Street.
Some 45,000 vehicles use South Carson Street each day. Most of its intersections reach gridlock during peak hours.