Freeway plans were a long time in the making
A freeway bypass through Carson City has been discussed for the better part of 50 years by several local and state agencies.
The first report located by Guy Rocha at the Nevada State Library and Archives was written in April 1958. It maps out a proposed route for a “ring” or “parkway” along a similar eastside route that is planned today through the ranching property owned by the long-tme Lompa family.
In “Carson City — A General Plan Study” the author explains how the growing city, estimated at the time to build out at 12,000 residents, was plagued by a disproportionate number of streets.
As a way to deal with expected traffic flow, planners in 1958 sought to augment existing streets with an outer traffic loop and several in-town connectors.
“Of course it must be realized that some elements of this plan will be many years away,” the report states.
It is uncertain if the writer could have imagined that nearly 50 years later, the bypass has not yet been built.
In 1968, the Nevada State Journal reported that plans to beautify downtown Carson City by widening Highway 395 “could stall placement of a freeway around Carson City for some time,” said then-Mayor James Robertson.
Five years later, the Carson City Master Plan, a physical and fiscal plan for community development and regulations for land use, describes an expressway in previous master plans that follows the route planned for today.
The 1972 report said traffic volumes needed to increase before federal funds would be available.
Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Magruder said the state agency held several public hearings and had many discussions about where to put a Carson City freeway during the 1970s and ’80s. During that time, several options on the west side and east side were considered, he said.
In May 1986, an environmental impact study was adopted. The final plan, approved in 1989, placed the freeway on the east side, bisecting the Lompa ranch.
The project is meant to produce a freeway from Highway 395 at the bottom of Lakeview Hill in North Carson City to Highway 50 East near Lompa Lane.
Beginning in 1997, a bridge over Northridge Drive was built and a gas tax agreement was signed.
Designs began taking shape in 1998, and details emerged over the next few years.
The $14 million first phase of the transportation department project that constructed four bridges on the northern 3.8-mile segment is nearly complete. A drainage system that requires part of the Lompa property has been put on hold until the state and the family reach an agreement on the land sale.
The state started condemnation hearings on the property after offering the family $2.8 million for 82 acres. The family has not made a counter offer, and no date has been set for the hearing.
The state is not seeking right-of-entry to begin work on the property because it hopes an agreement can be reached, Magruder said.