USA Parkway Project Continues On Target - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

USA Parkway Project Continues On Target

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A lot of progress has been made on the USA Parkway Extension since crews broke ground, late last summer.  The project will cost $75.9 million, connecting Interstate 80 at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center to Highway 50 in Silver Springs.  Six miles of the road already exists, and the extension will bring the total length to 18 miles.

"This is such an important project, not just for the immediate area of the USA Parkway but our entire region," Meg Ragonese, Public Information Officer for the Nevada Department of Transportation said.

Four miles have been paved and more than 2 million cubic yards of earth have been removed, despite the wet winter.

"There were only two working days lost due to the early January floods so the construction has really, really been successful and on schedule," Ragonese said.

Lance Gilman is the Principal and Marketing Director for TRI. He has been hoping for the road for years. In fact, he worked with the legislature to get the ball rolling, 15 years ago.

"The Assembly and Senate all signed a proclamation that USA Parkway was the most important piece of infrastructure for the development of northern Nevada," Gilman said.

The road is expected to open by the end of fall.  Experts say it will reduce travel times between Reno and some areas of Highway 50 by 38 percent, creating a new commuter route.

"Residents, for example, in the Silver Springs area will more easily and quickly be able to commute to potential job opportunities in the Reno-Sparks area," Ragonese said.

"We needed to be able to connect Silver Springs and Yerington and everything off the Highway 50 corridor into the job base," Gilman said.

Gilman says the new road will open the door to housing developments in towns like Dayton and Silver Springs, which will likely be needed as more large companies move into TRI.

"As long as our communities, as a whole, get behind this thing, the housing will follow the market," Gilman said.

With thousands of trucks going in and out of TRI, every day, the new south route is expected to reduce the amount traffic on Interstate 80.

"You're gonna see your main truck route headed south, which is gonna pull 70 percent of the truck traffic off of I-80, which will in itself, give us a better relief while we do the improvements necessary in the future," Gilman said.

Starting May 1, lanes on Highway 50 will shift to the south in the area where it will intersect with USA Parkway.  Crews will be building a roundabout through the summer.

"Because traffic moves slower though roundabouts and because there aren't the right angles that you see at traditional traffic signals, it really enhances traffic safety and really reduces the number of severe crashes at intersections," Ragonese said.

Access between Highway 50 and Opal Avenue will be closed during construction, and the speed limit will drop to 25 mph. Once it is completed, the speed limit will be 45 mph through the roundabout.

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