I-580 Fully Open by Monday
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The commute between Reno and Carson City through Washoe Valley is finally faster and safer, says Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Magruder. He says the new I-580 freeway will save drivers eight to ten minutes on their commute between the two cities, and most of the 40,000 cars a day that drive the old route - from the Mt. Rose Highway through Washoe Valley - will now be taking the freeway.
"We expect to get about 75 to 80 percent of that traffic will go on that new road," Magruder said. "We've had dozens of fatalities over the years on the existing 395 because it's obviously an undivided highway. People are making left turns in and out of there. Now with the new road you're basically eliminating the possibility of a head-on."
The freeway is 8.5 miles long and has nine bridges - including the Galena Creek Bridge, the largest cathedral art bridge in the nation.
The project cost more than $500 million dollars, most of which came from federal funds.
There's still more construction along the route though. Magruder says work will continue on the new interchange at Bowers Mansion through October.
Dignitaries held a ribbon cutting Aug. 2 for the new I-580 Freeway, which will connect Reno and Carson City. KUNR's Michael Hagerty was there, and gives us a video tour of the new highway.
The highway wont open for normal traffic for another couple weeks. The 8.5 mile highway is several decades in the making, and included numerous delays.
Its most notable feature is the Galena Creek Bridge, the largest cathedral arch bridge in the nation. It includes a special system of sprinklers that spray de-icing fluids on the roadway during frigid weather.
Federal Highway Administrator Victor Martinez was on hand and said his agency is watching innovations like that for implementation nationally.
The project cost more than half a billion dollars - much of which came from federal funds.
Video Tour of I-580 (Video Courtesy: Jeremy Dunn, KNPB):