Gov. Kenny Guinn formally awarded the second major Northern Nevada freeway contract in less than a month Monday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony just off the Mount Rose Highway.
The first phase of Interstate 580/Highway 395 will cost $79.5 million. It includes construction of four bridges along the west side of the existing highway between Reno and Carson City.
The Galena Creek Bridge will be 1,719 feet long and 302 feet high. The contract went to Edward Kraemer & Sons of Phoenix. It is to be completed in 2007.
The next phase of the nine-mile stretch of road from the Mount Rose Highway to the north end of Washoe Valley will begin in 2006.
A spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation said motorists will be able to drive on the freeway by 2008.
When completed, the freeway will cost a total of $310 million, making it the most expensive road construction project in Northern Nevada.
Part of the price tag was the engineering challenge of building a stable roadway through the Steamboat Springs geothermal field south of the Mount Rose Highway.
State highway officials say completion of the freeway will better connect the capital to the interstate highway system while eliminating one of the worst safety hazards in the state - the bottleneck through Pleasant Valley and Washoe City.
On Oct. 15, Guinn presided over a similar ceremony in Carson City where the bypass extending I-580 through the capital will cross Highway 50 just east of the Piñon Plaza casino. Ames Construction is already working on that $69 million project.
In the case of the bypass, the bridges are already in place between Arrowhead Drive and Highway 50. Ames is building the road which will finish the northern half of the bypass. The project includes the bridge and on- and offramps to take the freeway over Highway 50.
That leaves the southern half of the bypass, which will take the freeway south to Spooner Summit Highway, where it will reconnect with existing Highway 395.
That project is being designed. The biggest remaining issue is what it will cost the state to buy right of way across the Lompa Ranch. The state and the Lompa family are still in negotiations over the land.