The eagle has landed at southern end of Carson City freeway |

The eagle has landed at southern end of Carson City freeway

Road and Highway Builders' Will Helickson and Bruce Peterson (in bucket) finish up the mounting process of the new eagle at the 580 interchange in Carson City Thursday.
Brad Coman/Nevada Appeal |

NDOT and crews from Road and Highway Builders on Thursday installed the sculpture of an eagle at the southern end of the Carson City bypass.

The sculpture weighs 800 pounds and has a 16-foot wingspan. Since that will catch a lot of wind coming down from Spooner Summit to the west, engineers had to make sure that when the crane lifted the bird to the top of its perch, that would be its first and last flight.

NDOT Landscape Architect John L’Etoile said the eagle had to be able to withstand winds up to 105 mph to make sure it doesn’t take flight. It sits atop a 15-foot tall perch designed to look like a huge tree stump.

NDOT’s Matt Hobdy said that stump is actually made of concrete and steel on top of a huge underground concrete footing.

The bird itself is made of powder-coated aluminum, created by Ivak Cooper, a contractor and welding instructor from Idaho. It sits on the northeast corner of the intersection of the bypass freeway, south Carson Street and U.S. 50.

The installation process took about two hours to complete. Among the spectators were Will Hellickson, Road and Highway Builders project manager for the final leg of the bypass, and Ashley Hurlbut, the NDOT engineer in charge.

There was one small hitch when the aluminum rear talons on the eagle’s claws had to be clipped to make sure it seated all the way into its mounting sleeves on the top of the stump.

Road and Highway Builders’ Eric Peterson cut them back using a portable bandsaw, advising NDOT officials “we won’t charge you extra for the pedicure.”

The other issue raised by engineers was the bird is made of aluminum but was designed to mount in steel sleeves. When aluminum and steel are together, the result is galvanic corrosion. To prevent that, Hobdy said the connection between the two is coated with non-oxide grease. In addition, rain caps were installed on each pin to further prevent corrosion. He said the grease will have to be renewed each year to protect the connection.

L’Etoile said the eagle theme is now at both ends of the bypass. There’s a steel eagle sculpture and painting on the overpass at the north end of the bypass in honor of the actual name of the valley that’s home to Carson City.

He said other artwork along the route honors the area’s rich history including American Indian and Basque cultures as well as the railroads.