Construction snarls Highway 50 traffic

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Frustrations are rising among Carson City drivers attempting to negotiate Highway 50, but NDOT officials say the end is in sight.

Scott Magruder of the Department of Transportation says there will continue to be traffic restrictions on 50, especially at night, until work to expand the roadway is completed. He said it will take about six months but when done, Highway 50 in the area around the bypass freeway will have three traffic lanes in each direction plus a lane for controlled left turns in the middle.

Also under construction in that area are the on and off-ramps to the freeway on the south side of the highway. But right now, the traffic beneath the overpass is all on the north side of the road while crews work on adding lanes on the south side. In about two months, Magruder said, the traffic will shift to the south side while crews begin work on the north side.

He said the project also includes median islands, a sidewalk on the south side and a new storm drain system installed. The storm drain system, he said, should eliminate the historic flooding problem in that area.

It should all be completed in about six months. Until then, traffic is reduced to two lanes each way during the day and can be down to just a single lane from 7 p.m.-5 a.m.

At the same time, Road and Highway Builders of Reno has already begun work on the Fifth Street overpass and at Fairview Drive near the south end of the $45 million project. In both places, huge mounds of dirt are being compacted into place. At Fifth Street, an overpass will carry the street over the freeway. Pilings have already been installed.

At Fairview, the freeway will pass over the street and, since that's the end of the current project phase, a southbound off-ramp onto Fairview and a northbound on-ramp from Fairview to the freeway will be constructed. There, concrete work has already begun on the overpass.

Once this phase of the project is completed in 2009, NDOT officials hope to put the final phase of the bypass project out to bid. That will take the new freeway south to the current Highway 395-Spooner Summit Highway junction.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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