USA Parkway won’t delay Carson bypass

Nevada Department of Transportation Director Rudy Malfabon said this week moving the USA Parkway project up on the construction schedule won’t delay the final phase of the Carson bypass project.

“It (the bypass) is not one of the projects at risk for this,” Malfabon said.

In fact, Malfabon said the final leg of the bypass from Fairview south to Spooner Junction and U.S. 395 will go out to bid in February with construction estimated to take two summer work seasons starting next summer. It will cost $42 million.

“The Carson freeway is a priority,” he said pointing out a public meeting is set for today to answer questions about that project from area residents.

Moving USA Parkway up in the schedule will, however, delay a project — or projects — on the books in Northern Nevada in the coming two years.

The plan to build a four-lane highway connecting Highway 50 from Silver Springs to Interstate 80 east of Reno-Sparks is part of the deal concocted to bring Tesla Motors to the Tahoe Reno Industrial Complex

TRI’s Lance Gilman said they are willing to sell the necessary right-of-way for about $43 million.

Malfabon said the actual construction will cost an estimated $60 million-$65 million.

“The governor said not to let the acceleration of this affect any Southern Nevada projects,” Malfabon said.

That, he said, means the money must come from state and federal cash currently slated for some other Northern Nevada projects currently planned for the 2016 and 2017 construction years. “You cannot exceed what’s available,” he said.

He said he hopes to present some options to the transportation board — chaired by Gov. Brian Sandoval — at its Oct. 13 meeting. Some of the larger projects on tap in the north over the next couple of years are extensive work on Interstate 80 near Elko, the reconstruction of Glendale Avenue in Sparks, and the Pyramid Way/McCarran Boulevard intersection and the Virginia Street bridge in downtown Reno.

Malfabon said his staff and the board also have to decide what method to use for the contract. The old standard is design, bid then build, he said. But he said “design build” is quicker because actual work can start before the design is complete. The design of the parkway project is already about 30 percent completed so work could start fairly quickly.

The parkway will wind 18-20 miles through the Virginia Range in Storey and Lyon counties. Some six miles beginning at I-80 is already paved. Another five miles has been graded but not paved.

The most expensive part of the project is the remaining 9-10 miles through some rough mountain terrain.

When completed, the highway would not only improve freight movement within the industrial complex to points south but open a path for workers living in the Dayton corridor to jobs at the Tesla plant as well as other businesses in TRI.


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