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Nugget Ave. roundabout unveiled
by Joshua H. Silavent
Aug 05, 2011 | 2531 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/John Byrne - John Ascuaga cuts the ribbon on the new roundabout Thursday, with help from City Councilman Ed Lawson (center), and his children Stephen (left) and Michonne (right).
Tribune/John Byrne - John Ascuaga cuts the ribbon on the new roundabout Thursday, with help from City Councilman Ed Lawson (center), and his children Stephen (left) and Michonne (right).
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SPARKS — Led by a teal-colored ’57 Chevy Bel-Air driven by John Ascuaga, a stream of classic cars rolled through the new roundabout interchange on Nugget Avenue during a ribbon-cutting celebration Thursday morning to unveil the long-awaited project that will provide access to and from the casino’s westside parking lot.

The roundabout, popular in Europe but slower to gain footing this side of the Atlantic, has a “calming effect” on traffic, said Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Magruder.

“They’re the safest way,” he added.

NDOT officials expect the roundabout – which now greets traffic when it exits the Interstate 80 eastbound off-ramp onto Nugget Avenue prior to reaching 14th Street – will give area residents a better understanding of why they best four-way stop signs.

Ground broke about four weeks ago on the project, with Sparks-based Q&D Construction the recipient of a $500,000 contract supported by state highway funds. Re-paving part of Nugget Avenue was included in the project costs.

Many organizations were involved in bringing the project together after almost three decades of discussion and planning.

“It feels like we finally climbed Mt. Everest,” said John Ascuaga.

The city of Sparks, NDOT, the Nugget, Q&D Construction, Regional Transportation Commission and Federal Highway Administration all collaborated, according to project officials.

Completion of the roundabout comes just in time for the start of Hot August Nights, a date on the calendar that project managers didn’t want to miss.

“I’m just thrilled a few more construction cones will be put away,” joked Sparks Councilwoman Julia Ratti.

“I think it’ll be a big asset to the Nugget,” Sparks Councilman Ron Smith said.

For Ascuaga, the roundabout has both literal and symbolic importance.

“This is really the gateway to Sparks,” he said.
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