Carson bypass – better sooner than later |

Carson bypass – better sooner than later

Nevada Appeal editorial board

Ever since the big green signs went up, we’ve been hoping the Carson City freeway would get finished ahead of schedule and be open to motorists this winter.

On Monday, Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Magruder called with the good news – we’re only a month or so away from the big day.

Ames Construction has indeed been able to work ahead of the planned April opening, and Carson City residents should be looking forward to tooling down the new highway between Lakeview Hill and Highway 50 by the middle of February.

Congratulations to Ames, NDOT, city officials who have pushed this bypass and to residents themselves. Remember, we’re paying an extra nickel a gallon at the gas pumps in Carson City to help make this happen.

It’s worth pausing a moment to remember why.

Obviously, Carson-Reno commuters will get a benefit in reduced driving times, but that’s largely a matter of convenience.

Carson Street has been overwhelmed for years by the amount of pass-through traffic from Carson Valley, South Lake Tahoe and now Dayton/Lyon County. These are people who have no intention of stopping in Carson City, and the congestion downtown has served as a disincentive to parking and shopping. For too many tourists, it’s simply a matter of getting through the traffic and stoplights to get to where they’re going.

A large amount of that pass-through traffic is trucks – a big barrier to making downtown a pleasant place to drive and spend some time. It’s not just the noise and congestion, though. Any accident on Carson Street can immediately jam traffic for miles. There’s just no easy way to get around. So safety is a major reason for a bypass.

Carson City also will got a shot in the arm economically from the highway, which not only untangles downtown, but creates easier access to several business properties along its route.

At one time, downtown businesses worried the bypass would hurt them. We’re confident just the opposite will happen when the full route is completed.