The meeting will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 27 at the Sparks Masonic Building at 2425 Pyramid Way in Sparks. Scott Gibson, RTC engineer and Pyramid/McCarran project manager, said Tuesday that the Feb. 27 meeting holds substantial weight in not only the overall aesthetic view of the project, but the scope and design of the project as a whole.
“We are taking out a lot of homes, we are dramatically changing the visual character of the corridor and we have always led the public to expect that there would be a high level of finish aesthetically with this project,” Gibson said. “I am hoping we get to move forward with these things. Right now these are concepts and then we have to look at utilities being relocated within the project.
“We are going to be getting out of (the utility contractor’s) way or they are going to be getting out of our way, and I would rather have the community lock in the landscape aesthetics first and have everyone work around that.”
The Pyramid/McCarran project has been in the works for more than seven years as it has plans to widen Sparks’ busiest intersection thus reducing traffic congestion and improve overall safety for motorists and pedestrians. The total cost of the project will be between $61 and $71 million and will widen Pyramid Way from two lanes to three lanes in each direction (north-south) from a reconfigured Queen Way on the north to Tyler Way on the south. McCarran Boulevard would remain two lanes in each direction (east-west) but with additional turning lanes.
The aesthetic enhancements up for the public’s discussion include:
•Decorative walls and berm landforms enclosing neighborhoods
•Street-to-neighborhood buffering options and decorative fencing style
•Public art sculptures and vegetation on multiple sides of the roadways
•Illustration, inspiration and design principles based on Pyramid Lake colors and motifs
•Pedestrian access to and from neighborhoods
•Tree and landscape designs
Gibson said when the project initially began, the City of Sparks was able to maintain care for dozens of trees and grass along the roadways near the intersection, but the turn in the economy forced the city and the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) to rethink the amount of vegetation upkeep possible once the project is completed. Gibson said the RTC has accommodated the economy’s new scale and only plans to plant as many trees as “realistically possible.”
“We have taken this, I think, to as high a level that is realistic,” Gibson said. “We have it grounded in some good design principles and I think using the lake and the desert and those kind of themes covers a lot of territory and is a really strong design foundation for the corridor and the thousands of people who are going to be passing through every day. The neighborhood residents have to decide how much access and screening they would like.”
For more information and to view more aesthetic design concepts for the Pyramid/McCarran project, visit www.pyramidmccarran.com or www.rtcwashoe.com/hot-topics.