Freeway scheduled to open Feb. 16 | NevadaAppeal.com

Freeway scheduled to open Feb. 16

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer

Before Nevada Department of Transportation officials open the first phase of the new Carson City Freeway on Feb. 16, locals will have an opportunity to get a closer look – on foot – at the project that cost taxpayers $120 million.

NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder said Tuesday that the long-awaited opening of the 4.5-mile stretch of asphalt from Highway 50 to the northernmost on ramp to Highway 395 will be celebrated with a 5K and 10K fun run/walk.

“We wanted to open the entire first phase of the freeway to the community with this event,” he said. “The community can walk, run, ride a bike, take anything that’s non-motorized on the freeway and have a fun time. You’ll never be able to do this again – at least not on this phase.”

On Feb. 11, runners will take off at 9 a.m. from the northbound side of the freeway near the Highway 50 ramp. The 10K runners will loop back near the end of the freeway, just beyond Arrowhead Parkway, and run back on the southbound lanes.

Walkers and cyclists will start at 9:30 a.m. Tim Tetz, who is assisting in organizing the run, said he expects 100-150 walkers and runners.

“The spirit for this race is the camaraderie, the fun of it, with the added bonus of getting to come and walk the freeway before you can drive it” said Tetz, who owns Fleet Feet, 3246 N. Carson St. “I heard there’s some beautiful views up there. What better way to see the view than on foot.”

Parking for the event is available at Mulligan’s restaurant and sports pub, 2300 Highway 50 east, which is on the west side of the freeway. Overflow parking is also available at the Piñon Plaza. Visitors must walk to the east side of the freeway and walk up the northbound on ramp, Magruder said. The freeway will be open to foot traffic until noon.

NDOT officials plan a ribbon-cutting event Feb. 16 on the freeway. Magruder said the goal is to open the freeway to traffic by the afternoon.

He said contractor Ames Construction has completed most of the work ahead of time because the weather has worked in its favor. Work days for the government contract end in April.

Once the first leg of the freeway opens, Carson Street will also be known as Business 395.

The entire $330 million freeway project has been in the planning for more than 20 years. Phase 1 of the project, 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.

Construction on the next phase, from Highway 50 to Fairview Drive, will begin this summer. This $50-million section is planned to be completed in 2008. The last $110-million section to Highway 50 at Spooner Summit should be completed by 2010, according to NDOT.

The interstate under construction in Washoe Valley will connect with Highway 395 at the north end of Washoe Valley. It is scheduled to be completed in 2009. The whole length – from Reno through Carson City – will be called Interstate 580.

— Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

If you go

WHAT: Freeway 395

opening event, including a 5k and 10k fun run/walk

WHERE: On the new

freeway, just off Highway 50 East on the northbound side

WHEN: 9 a.m.-noon Feb. 11

COST: Free. Only open to those on foot, bicycle or non-motorized wheels

PARKING: Mulligan’s and the Piñon Plaza on Highway 50 East