Northbound lanes of the 8.5-mile stretch on the hills above Pleasant Valley were open to pedestrians and bicycles from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. One southbound lane was open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for people to take a test drive on the new road in a vehicle.
The event marked the completion of the $555 million project, the final stretch of interstate freeway linking Reno to Carson City.
A formal ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for Thursday.
Development of I-580 in Washoe County has been a work in progress since 1957. The first segment of the freeway constructed was from the Carson City/Washoe County line to Lakeview in 1964, followed by the Lakeview to Winters Ranch segment, which opened in 1970, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT).
Opponents to the freeway alignment filed lawsuits 1972 and 1973. During this time, Congress passed landmark environmental legislation, leading to further requirements before the project could proceed.
The approval of the final environmental impact statements enabled two additional segments to be completed in the early 1980s. Supplemental environmental studies began in 1979 on the freeway corridor from Winters Ranch north to South Virginia Street. Following public hearings and a thorough investigation, the new alignment was selected, was endorsed by public and local agencies, and was approved by the Federal Highway Administration.
From 1983 to the present, the freeway has progressed southward through a series of construction projects, first from South Virginia Street to Del Monte Lane, then northward from Del Monte Lane to South Virginia Street, and most recently from South Virginia Street to the Mt. Rose Highway. The final link from Winters Ranch to the Mt. Rose Highway will complete the freeway improvements in Washoe County.
In May 2006, the Nevada Department of Transportation and Edward Kraemer & Sons Inc. mutually agreed to terminate their contract due to a disagreement on the constructability of the pilot truss for the Galena Creek Bridge. Contract termination was approved by the state transportation board in June 2006.
In an effort to get the project on track and completed, all remaining work was combined into one contract. An extensive contractor outreach program was put into place to find a qualified contractor to finish the project.
The project resumed in 2006 and the remaining work included five bridges; grading and paving for the 8.5 miles of roadway between the Bowers Mansion interchange and the Mt. Rose interchange; construction of the Bowers Mansion interchange; and the completion of the Mt. Rose/I-580 interchange.