Contract opening for freeway work postponed |

Contract opening for freeway work postponed

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Bidding on the next phase of the Carson City Freeway project has been postponed until May 31 due to utility relocation delays. The end of the freeway, near the Gold Dust West Casino, is seen Thursday from above Carson City, courtesy of Weaver Aircraft.

Utility relocation needs are causing a four-month delay in constructing the next segment of the Carson City freeway.

Contracts for the work to build the next section will be opened May 31, not on Thursday as was originally planned.

The delay will allow for utility relocation work, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation, and will give the eventual freeway contractor “better opportunities to work in multiple areas of the project without the risk of being delayed because of the ongoing work by utility companies,” said Scott Magruder, NDOT spokesman.

The freeway from Highway 50 East to Fairview Drive will cost the state $50 million to $60 million. That section is expected to require about two years to build, NDOT has estimated.

“Although postponement of Phase 2A could affect 2B, the 2010 completion date may still be achievable depending on the availability of future highway funding,” Magruder said.

Carson City is widening Fairview to make it a four-lane thoroughfare in connection to the freeway project. The city will seek a company to do this work in March.

Utility companies serving the area are relocating power, gas, telephone and other service connections and the city is moving water, sewer and reclaimed water lines to accommodate the freeway project and its storm-drain system, said Andrew Burnham, the city’s public works director.

“You can’t see into the ground, so you have to dig in to really know what’s down there,” Burnham said. “It’s a surprisingly complex set of relocations for a freeway.”

For example, Southwest Gas Corp. recently finished work on Fairview and its focus now is on Saliman Road. And the city continues its work on Fairview and expects to finish up there in early April, Burnham said.

All of the utility relocations need to be complete before Fairview can be widened. Widening work could begin in the summer. It’s scheduled to be done by summer 2008.

Future utility needs are also being taken into account. Some lines will be enlarged as they are being moved, Burnham said.

Allowing the utility relocations more time is also expected to save the state some money because its contractor would have fewer surprises as the freeway work is being done. It wouldn’t conflict with the state contractor’s efforts either, Burnham said.

Fairview will carry traffic from the freeway to Carson Street until the entire freeway is completed. The project’s final section will connect the freeway at Fairview Drive to Highway 395 south at the base of Spooner Summit.

The first section of the freeway in Carson City, from Lakeview Hill to Highway 50 East, opened in February 2006.

The entire freeway is estimated to cost $350 million, Magruder said. Carson City’s portion of freeway-related construction will be about $50 million.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.

The Carson City freeway

Total cost: $350 million

Phase 1:

From Highway 395 at Lakeview Hill to Highway 50 East, included building the four bridges spanning Arrowhead Drive, Northgate Lane, Emerson Drive and College Parkway. Those bridges cost $14 million, plus $70 million in construction and right-of-way costs, bringing the total cost of phase one to $120 million. The general contractor was Ames Construction.

Phase 2A:

From Highway 50 to Fairview Drive. The state will seek a contractor May 31.

This $60-million section is planned to be completed in 2008. Full interchanges will be constructed at Highway 50 East and at Fairview Drive. Grade separation structures will be built at Fifth Street, Koontz Lane, Clearview Drive and Snyder Avenue. The separations will allow traffic to pass over the freeway with no access provided to the freeway.

Phase 2B:

The last $120-million section to a full interchange with Highway 50 at the base of Spooner Summit could be completed by 2010.