•The project that community members can still voice opinions about is the Pyramid Highway/US 395 Connector which is in the process of its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Public comment can be made on the DEIS through Nov. 12 when the RTC begins collecting comments to determine the preferred alternative for the Final EIS, which is slated to be submitted in late 2014.
The project will convert about six miles of existing Pyramid Highway from an arterial road to a controlled-access freeway and will include improvements east to Vista Boulevard, alleviating current and future congestion in Sparks and Spanish Springs for additional east/west connectivity.
The RTC reported preliminary design and environmental clearance estimated at $8.2 million. Final design and construction estimates are still unknown due to the progress of the project, but total estimates as of Monday estimate $1.1 billion.
•A Record of Decision will be handed down before the year’s end on the Final EIS for the Pyramid Highway/McCarran Boulevard Intersection project. According to RTC documents, early right-of-way access has been approved and the RTC is “engaged in the negotiation and purchase” of nearly 40 properties whose owners have expressed interest in participating in the program.
RTC officials said the final design will be complete in the third quarter of 2014 and construction can begin as early as January 2015. The project will meet the short- and long-term needs of the project based on regional growth. The project will decrease traffic congestion in Sparks’ “busiest intersection” and improve safety in the area.
The total scope of the project is estimated between $61 million and $71 million.
Work continues on Phase 1 of the SouthEast Connector (SEC) project linking east Sparks with south Reno crossing the Truckee River with construction of the Veterans Memorial Bridge.
Sparks Boulevard and Greg Street continue to see construction, reducing Greg Street to one lane heading east. Ground was broken at the intersection of the two Sparks streets in February. Steel girders are being placed at the south end of the bridge as part of Phase 1.
The Clean Water Act permit for Phase 2 of the project was submitted to the US Army Corps of Engineers in mid-July and can be reviewed at the RTC’s website.
Traffic Signal Improvements
•McCarran Boulevard in Sparks intersections will undergo improvements in early 2014 as the RTC plans to improve traffic signal efficiency and operation. Traffic lights on McCarran Boulevard at Nichols Boulevard and Lincoln Way will have updated video detection cameras and new fiber optic cables for better communication with traffic signals.
Additionally, a traffic signal report will be delivered to the RTC Board of Commissioners later this month about 140 intersections throughout the region, which were improved between February and September.
East Nugget Avenue Project
•The RTC finished a project on E. Nugget Avenue in October beginning at McCarran Boulevard and continuing east until the end of the roadway where a cul-de-sac was installed. The project cost was about $570,000 and it improved drainage problems and reconstructed the pavement, including curb and gutter improvements.
Cy Yearman, an associate at Kimball Equipment Company on E. Nugget Avenue, said it was likely the first portion of a beautification project for the corridor and she added that the refinished surface was a vast improvement.
“Unless you had a four-wheel drive vehicle, you had a chance of getting lost in a pothole,” Yearman said of the previous pavement.
“They cleaned it up really quickly. I have never been this close to road work like that. We all drive through it, but to see how much was really being done was amazing.”
Yearman said it was nice to see a “home grown” project that incorporated local business, such as Granite Construction, in the reconstruction of the roadway.
4th Street/Prater Way Corridor
•The Sparks portion of the 4th Street/Prater Way Corridor improvement project, from Evans Avenue to Pyramid Way has reached preliminary design and a National Environmental Policy Act study is being conducted to determine if any environmental impacts exist.
The entirety of the project, which is estimated at $30 million, will make the corridor a ‘complete street’ which improves bike, pedestrian, public transit and automobile safety and efficiency. The project extends through Reno and Sparks and extends to the Northern Nevada Regional Medical Center off Vista Boulevard.