Wednesday night hundreds gathered to find out more about the Nevada Department of Transportation’s three proposed courses of action on revamping the Spaghetti Bowl. That’s where I-80 meets US 395 in Reno, a point of many traffic and safety concerns.
The preferred plan that NDOT would like to go forward with includes a closure of an exit ramp that many deem crucial to the operation of the Reno-Tahoe International airport.
Officials with the Nevada Department of Transportation said to offset the closure of the southbound I-580 exit going towards the airport it plans to expand the other entrance through Plumb Lane in Reno to accommodate the extra vehicles.
Lisa Gianoli is the chairperson for the airport and spoke during the public comment section. Gianoli approves most of the plan, except for the closure of that particular ramp.
“Removing the southbound airport ramp access is akin to moving backward in time,” Gianoli said. “The ramp was built in 1989. If it was deemed necessary in 1989, it cannot be expendable today when we have more passengers, more flights, more cargo, more population, and greater security risks that will require first responder access to the terminal.”
While Gianoli and many others had concerns about airport access, Dale Keller, NDOT’s project manager for the Spaghetti Bowl, said that the proposed change would increase access to the airport, despite the ramp closure.
“Without those airport ramps, yes, you’ll see maybe an additional minute sitting at that light at Plumb,” Keller said, “but overall, you’ll have a net decrease of time getting to the airport. We found that operations operate just [as] efficiently without those airport ramps there.”
Public comment for the proposed plans is open until January 15th.
NDOT officials estimate they’ll make a final decision and begin the design process this coming July.