Mayor calls for freeway completion |

Mayor calls for freeway completion

Geoff dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

While praising the state for starting work on the northern half of the freeway, Carson City Mayor Ray Masayko on Wednesday called for completion of the entire project within seven years.

“We’re looking toward a ribbon cutting before the end of this decade,” he told Gov. Kenny Guinn during a groundbreaking ceremony. “It should never stop when we finish this first phase.”

For his part, Guinn made it clear his goal is completion of the freeway to Spooner Summit junction at the capital’s southern border.

“It’s really tied together with economic development and efficiency and doing what’s fair throughout the state,” he said.

While Ames Construction is already at work on the roadway from Arrowhead Drive at the north end of the valley to Highway 50 where the ceremony was held Wednesday, the Nevada Department of Transportation has not set a firm date for construction of the southern half of the project.

The biggest issue there is what the state will end up paying for the Lompa Ranch property. The condemnation case is headed for a trial next summer unless the two sides work out a settlement.

The contract for the northern segment is $69 million – bringing the total cost of the northern half, including land purchases and bridge construction two years ago, to $105 million. A large portion of the total will be in the bridge and interchange Ames will build over Highway 50 adjacent to the Pinon Plaza Casino.

The southern half is expected to cost another $160 million, bringing the total cost of the bypass to more than $260 million.

Masayko and Carson Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Larry Osborne said the project will help the city revitalize the downtown.

“It will alleviate a lot of congestion downtown,” Osborne said. “It will change the make up of the people who go downtown. Locals stay out of downtown now because of the traffic problems.”

Masayko said moving through traffic, trucks and commuters to the freeway will allow many changes downtown.

“We’ll have a safer and more vibrant downtown,” he said.

About 75 people attended the ceremony, including Supervisors Pete Livermore, Robin Williamson, Shelly Aldean and Richard Staub, as well as former mayor Marv Teixeira. Also on hand were Assemblymen Ron Knecht, Lynn Hettrick and Tom Grady, and Controller Kathy Augustine, a member of the State Transportation Board.