Etched In Stone

A freeway landscaping project depicting scenes from Carson City's past is expected to be completed by the end of the year, but there will be lots of activity at the interchanges and grade separations until then, officials say.

Work is continuing at six locations to etch historic designs into the concrete, but that's only part of the story.

"Those etchings will be married up with freestanding pieces of art, and coming phases include a significant number of new plants and trees," said Carson City Transportation Manager Patrick Pittenger.

The following themes for the History in Motion project can be found at these locations:

• The Comstock Lode is the theme at the College Parkway interchange, where images of ore veins will be enhanced by steel cutouts of miners working under the bridges.

• The interchange at Highway 50 East depicts a V&T Railroad theme, using images of the V&T shop doors on the north side of the interchange and an image of a train emerging from a canyon on the south side.

• The Northgate Lane and Emerson Drive grade separation shares a dual theme, with cattle images portraying the Sam Davis Ranch theme on the north side. Murals depicting Pony Express riders are depicted on the other side.

• At North Carson Street in the vicinity of the freeway overpass, the shadow of an eagle is being etched and painted on the slope paving at the Eagle Valley-themed interchange to go with a 30-foot steel eagle to be constructed this summer.

• At the Arrowhead Drive interchange, images of trucks convey the 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy theme.

• At the Northridge Drive and Russell Way grade separation, earlier forms of transportation are celebrated. Images of stagecoaches racing take the viewer back to an earlier time.

The project was conceived by Carson City's Gardeners Reclaiming Our Waysides, spearheaded and shepherded through years of red tape by Mary Fischer. GROW obtained initial federal funding for the project, which has since been awarded additional federal and state grant funding, Pittenger said.

"The construction was 100 percent grant-funded," he said.

Carson City received about $2.2 million for improvements to the freeway corridor with $1.7 million secured through federal funding. The city also received $500,000 through the Nevada Department of Transportation's Community Match Program for the project.

"We expect landscaping greenery by the end of next month, and art should start to arrive then, too. People will start seeing things popping up," he said.

Meanwhile, NDOT has completed steel cutout sculptures over and around bridges on Fairview Drive and East Fifth Street.

The cattle drive design over Fifth Street features steel and aluminum panels in the shapes of horses, riders and cattle. Life-sized panels are attached to the pedestrian fencing, and sculptures surround the bridges. Fairview Drive art shows early settlers sharing pine nuts with Native Americans.

Carson City's History in Motion is a plan to blend landscape, art and history into the interchanges and grade separations of the north leg of the freeway. The themed idea builds on NDOT's vision for the entire Highway 395 corridor, which is intended to celebrate Carson City's history.


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