Freeway construction focused on preparation for roadwork

Ames Construction officials say the Carson City Freeway project is on schedule with major progress being made both on the interchange at the north end of town and drainage work south of Highway 50.

Project Manager Jim Gallegos said most of the work right now is preparation for building the actual roadway. From Pinon Plaza south, contractors have dug a huge trench that Gallegos said "will soon become basically a regional storm drainage system for North Carson City."

The freeway will run through the lowest part of Eagle Valley. To allow that, engineers had to design a system to drain away thousands of gallons of groundwater.

The drain begins as a 48-inch diameter pipe at Arrowhead and grows as it follows the path of the bypass, collecting water along the way. By the time it crosses Highway 50, Gallegos said it will be three 12-by-8-foot culverts, which will run south to just north of Fifth Street, intersect with Butti Lane at the north side of the sewer plant then head east to the Carson River.

Engineers told the Nevada Department of Transportation when the plan was approved that it would go a long way toward fixing flooding that hits the area nearly every time there's a rainstorm.

Gallegos said the work must be done before Ames Construction can begin building the actual freeway.

"We have to have drainage up to and actually across 50 because we don't want to build a freeway embankment and obstruct flows," he said.

At the north end of town, he said crews are getting ready to build the detours around the interchange structure that will eventually connect the freeway with North Carson Street.

At the same time, he said crews are beginning to grade the route west of Lompa Lane and north of Highway 50.

After the preparations are complete, Gallegos said crews can begin actual construction of the interchange, the roadway connecting bridges built in Phase 1A and the bridge over Highway 50.

"There's a lot of underground stuff that has to be done first," he said.

But he said work is proceeding well at this point, and crews expect to meet the target of spring 2006 to complete the northern half of the bypass.

He said the progress of construction can be tracked on the state's Web site at

The cost of the project is $69 million, which will bring the total cost of the northern half of the bypass to $105 million.

The southern half, according to Nevada Department of Transportation engineers, will be about $160 million - bringing the total cost of the freeway project to more than $260 million.

Contact Geoff Dornan at or at 687-8750.


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