NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder said Wednesday that the narrowing will take place from Moana Lane to the Spaghetti Bowl intersection with Interstate 80. The Glendale onramp to the northbound freeway will be closed this weekend with traffic detoured to the Mill Street entrance.
Numerous parts of the project are in high gear, including construction of a retaining wall between Glendale Avenue and I-80 where the road will later be widened to seven lanes. Also part of this weekend’s work will be something new for Nevada roads: roughly 320 feet of pre-fabricated pieces of road will be laid in the current far right northbound lane leading up to the I-80 directional sign. Brian Roll, project manager for Granite Construction, compared the pieces to patio paving stones; essentially they are pre-made pieces of road that will be laid into swaths of road that have been preprepared. NDOT’s resident engineer Shane Cocking said the process has been used in California, Utah and in the eastern United States and proved to cut down on time needed to close the road from as much as three weeks to about eight days.
These pavers will only be used for a small section of the project, as it is the first time using them in Nevada. They cost more, Cocking said, but drastically reduce the impact of road work on traffic because of reduced working time.
The goal of the project is to reduce congestion on the northbound freeway through Reno leading to the Spaghetti Bowl interchange. Magruder said 150,000 cars travel the stretch of road each day, which is the busiest section in northern Nevada. The project also will include installation of about half a dozen webcams that are set to go live in late August and provide permanent visibility to online traffic conditions.
Safety of workers has been a major concern for the project. The Nevada Highway Patrol is contracted to monitor driving in the area, which has a reduced speed limit of 55 mph north from Neil Road to the I-80 interchange.
Trooper Chuck Allen said the NHP has issued 1,205 citations between April 1 and July 1 between Moana Lane and the Spaghetti Bowl. NHP also reports 31 accidents in the work zone involving 66 vehicles; 24 involved property damage only, seven were injury accidents and there have been no fatalities. Four of the accidents involved alcohol or drugs, three were attributed to driver inattention and one driver reportedly fell asleep.
The $32 million project began in April and is expected to last until spring 2012. Funds to pay for the project are coming from a combination of federal, state and local funds. Moneys generated from the RTC-5 gas tax are providing the local portion, Magruder said.