Southbound Lanes of Interstate 580 Open Friday - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Southbound Lanes of Interstate 580 Open Friday

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Interstate 580 is the most expensive road project in Nevada's history and starting at 6 am Friday, the southbound lanes will be open.

Discussions for this project started back in the 1970's and now, it's a reality, as crews are putting on the final touches.

After a decade of work, construction of nine bridges, and a cost of $550-million, the 8.5 mile stretch of road will finally be up and running.

"It's kind of bittersweet and there's a lot of people that put a lot of time and effort into it and they're really looking forward to it but they're also a little bit like 'Wow, it's here. It's done. Where do we go, now?'" Nevada Department of Transportation Spokesman Scott Magruder said.

About 40,000 cars travel on US 395 through Pleasant Valley every day. Up to 75% of those are expected to use the new freeway.

"It's much more convenient, safer, trucks will use it," Magruder said. "Pleasant Valley is going to get their road back. It's going to be a lot less congested down there. It's going to make it a lot more safe to get in and out for the residents that live down there."

There have been dozens of head-on collisions through Pleasant Valley, since the 1980's.

While safety was a driving force behind building I-580, officials say it is also much more functional than the old road.

"When you had a crash, it backed up vehicles for miles," Magruder said. "There was no alternate route. You had to go to either Virginia City or Lake Tahoe or even Fernley. So, in that regard, that road alone will now become a lot more pleasant for Pleasant Valley."

With a speed limit of 65 miles per hour and no traffic signals, the freeway will shave off plenty of drive time between Reno and Carson City.

"I've been commuting for 25 years," Magruder said. "So, it's very exciting for me because it is going to save me six to eight minutes and it's going to be a lot safer. So, I'm excited about it."

But officials remind us even though there are some great views along the way, the road is not meant for sightseeing.

"There's really no parking unless it's an emergency," Magruder said. "We don't want people parking, taking pictures, or something. We're a little concerned about that. This is a freeway. It's a limited access, divided, high-speed road."

Once both directions are open, construction will continue on the Bower's Mansion interchange, where I-580 and US 395 connect, in Washoe Valley.

That work should be completed in October.

The northbound lanes will open Monday morning.

Throughout the weekend, you can expect single-lane traffic in that direction because of detours.

Written by Paul Nelson
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