RENO, Nev. (AP) - The Federal Highway Administration has approved plans for $1.5 billion in improvements to a major interstate interchange and more than a dozen highway exits in Reno and Sparks over the next 20 years.

The agency issued a final environmental impact statement and record of decision selecting the alternative preferred by state transportation officials to reconfigure the Spaghetti Bowl where I-80, I-580 and U.S. 395 meet east of downtown Reno.

The project is intended to improve safety and reduce travel times in the metro area where the population is expected to grow 27% the next two decades.

The Reno-Sparks population has quadrupled since the interchange was originally constructed in the 1960s and 1970s.

Nevada Department of Transportation Director Kristina Swallow says the 28 months it took NDOT to complete the environmental impact statement was the fastest in agency history.

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