Several dozen area residents turned out Wednesday to take a close look at the Nevada Department of Transportation’s plans for the final stretch of the Carson freeway with most saying they just wish it could get finished faster and with the full interchange at U.S. 395 south.
“I wish we had the money to put the complete interchange in,” said Lane LaPera. “That would be great.”
NDOT hosted a public forum at Fuji Park to update residents on phase 2B-3 of the project.
“It’s a great change,” said Don Trimble, a retired NDOT employee. “I’m glad it’s not a round-about but I don’t really care for it.”
He said he was especially disappointed the sweeping on-ramp from Carson Street up Highway 50 to Spooner Summit was being eliminated in the plan.
Project Manager Jeff Lerud said NDOT didn’t have the necessary right-of-way to keep the ramp so it would have to wait until the state can afford to complete the interchange instead of the at-grade intersection.
Frank Mellor agreed saying, “taking that ramp there out doesn’t make sense.”
His wife Gillian expressed concern the intersection wouldn’t improve traffic flow, just move it away from Fairview Drive.
“What are we doing? Just moving the Fairview bottleneck south?” she asked.
Lerud said hopefully with the added lanes at the intersection, it won’t be a bottleneck.
On the other hand, drivers headed north from Douglas County will have a long, sweeping on-ramp to get from U.S. 395 onto the bypass freeway.
Frank Mellor said when he moved to the area in 1975, the freeway project was expected to take 10 years. He said he’s surprised it’s nearing the final phase — which NDOT officials say is going out to bid in February.
Trimble said everyone was talking about it when he went to work for the Highway Department in 1965.
Janet Mello said the primary complaint is the sound walls on the north side of the freeway stop before the final stretch of roadway from Snyder Avenue to U.S. 395 passes her neighborhood. She said that means she and her neighbors are going to hear those trucks braking to stop at the intersection all night.
“You’re going to hear them anyway but they need to put the wall up,” she said.
She said, however, NDOT officials have promised to come out after the road is open and measure sound levels near her home to see if the wall is necessary.
The preparatory work for the final stretch of pavement from Fairview south to the Spooner Junction has all been completed. NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon repeated this week the bypass project should go to bid in February and take two construction seasons to finish, hopefully opening in Oct., 2017.
It will cost an estimated $42 million to finish the at-grade intersection.
“Whatever it’s going to be is a lot better than what we’ve got,” said Gerald Vandbold. “I understand money’s tight.”