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Bypass completion moved up

Completion of the Carson freeway bypass has been moved up by nearly a year.

Project engineers told the state transportation board Wednesday they expect to advertise for bidders in fall 2014 and begin construction in spring 2015.

The schedule to connect the bypass from Fairview Drive with U.S. Highway 395 at Spooner junction is different from what the Nevada Department of Transportation planned earlier, in part because officials have decided to delay construction of an expensive interchange at the junction. As a result, drivers entering U.S. 395 from I-580 will wait at a traffic light, rather than merge automatically.

“It’s an at-grade intersection, not an interchange,” said Scott Magruder, spokesman for NDOT.

The interchange mostly benefits travelers heading up Spooner grade to Lake Tahoe, Magruder said. For travelers heading south on U.S. 395, he said, the intersection will offer three turn lanes to accommodate the majority of traffic — especially trucks.

Delaying the arrival of the interchange will cut the total cost of the final stretch of road by about $20 million to $42 million, according to NDOT’s 2014 work program.

The interchange will be built later, when funding is available, Magruder said.

Granite Construction is finishing up a $9.5 million project that includes the Snyder Street overpass south of Fairview. The two-lane bridge will be done in January, Magruder said. Like the bridges at Koontz Lane and Clearview Drive, it will carry traffic over the future freeway.

The current work consists of moving utilities and construction of a drainage system that can handle up to 37 million gallons of water in those rare occasions when storms dump into Voltaire Canyon.

Once the project is done, resident engineer Stephen Lani said, the final stretch of the freeway will be ready for pavement.

That stretch of south Carson Street carries the most traffic of any roadway in the capital — some 50,000 cars a day, according to Magruder.

The signal-controlled intersection will do the job, he said.

“We do feel the intersection is going to function very well,” Magruder said.