The Nevada Department of Transportation broke ground on the USA Parkway extension project connecting Interstate 80 and U.S. 50 through Storey and Lyon counties.
The USA Parkway was originally constructed as a privately built, six-mile-long road connecting Interstate 80 to the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center east of Sparks. The project will extend the Parkway by more than 12 miles to reach U.S. 50 near Silver Springs, creating an approximately 18-mile-long, four-lane state roadway between Interstate 80 and U.S. 50. Known as State Route 439, the new roadway will further link the greater Reno/Sparks area with the U.S. 50 corridor in Silver Springs, enhancing regional mobility and creating an additional route for commuter, freight and other traffic. The road will also help support regional economic development and serve as another route in the event of emergency or weather-related road closures. The project is projected to reduce travel times by as much as 38% for those traveling between U.S. 50 and I-80. In 20 years, more than 17,000 vehicles daily are anticipated to travel the new segment of USA Parkway.
"USA Parkway will continue our ongoing efforts and progress in building the necessary infrastructure for the New Nevada economy," said Governor Brian Sandoval. "USA Parkway will provide a necessary corridor that will open up Western Nevada to area development and growth and will help ease congestion for both commercial and commuter traffic."
Improvements to the shoulders of the existing roadway, such as installing additional guardrail and relocating fire hydrants, will begin shortly. Major construction will also begin this month with removal of brush and vegetation on the future roadway alignment, as well as producing aggregate gravel that will eventually form the foundation of the roadway. During construction, only local business traffic will be allowed south of Sydney Way, the last major interchange on State Route 439/USA Parkway. While much of the construction will not impact motorists, drivers can anticipate minor travel delays on U.S. 50 in the Silver Springs area next year during construction of a traffic roundabout intersection connecting the USA Parkway and U.S. 50.
Originally slated for completion in 2019, the USA Parkway extension is being fast-tracked using the design-build method of construction and is scheduled to open to traffic by late 2017. Design-build construction brings the final design and construction of a project together in one construction contract, often providing enhanced project innovation, collaboration and value. Ames Construction was selected as the contractor for the project in January, with a $75.9 million construction bid that was two million lower than the next runner-up.
"We're dedicated to providing a transportation system that keeps Nevadans safe and connected," explained NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon. "By enhancing safety and reducing travel times and associated vehicle use and emissions, the societal benefits of extending the USA Parkway are projected at more than $600 million for the first 20 years."