Development in the area of the Grand Sierra Resort is spurring the Nevada Department of Transportation to plan improvement of northbound U.S. 395.
"Everyone knows we need improvements on northbound 395," says Scott Magruder, public information officer at Nevada Department of Transportation. "Traffic really backs up."
Traffic counts on Highway 395 north of Glendale Avenue total about 150,000 vehicles a day.
Initial improvement plans target a three-mile stretch of the highway from Moana Lane to Interstate 80.
One auxiliary lane would be created by incorporating shoulders and restriping the road. The $70 million project would include ramp improvements as well, in an effort to accommodate increased traffic expected when a Wal-Mart store at Glendale and U.S. 395 and the water park planned at Grand Sierra Resort are built.
Road work would begin in 2009 with most work taking place at night, says Magruder.
The work may include installation of metered entry ramps at the Mill Street and Glendale on-ramps.
NDOT is in talks about the meters with the Regional Transportation Commission. While the stop-and-go lights create a staggered merge pattern, it can cause delays for heavy trucks that must stop and then get back up to speed.
"And some people get angry about them," says Magruder. "But it's to keep traffic on the main line flowing better."
NDOT also is studying improvement programs in all four quadrants of the Reno-Sparks area north, south, east and west.
No time frame is attached to those plans, which altogether require nearly a billion dollar budget. "But we're hoping in eight or nine years," says Magruder.
Areas targeted for traffic flow improvement include:
* Interstate 80 widening from Robb Drive to Vista Boulevard at a cost of $460 million.
* Highway 395 from the I-80 exchange to Stead Boulevard at a cost of $275 million.
* Pyramid Highway improvements at a cost of $135 million.
Interstate 80 improvements would involve:
* Robb to Keystone, widen to six lanes.
* Keystone Avenue to Pyramid Highway, widen to eight lanes.
* Pyramid Highway to Vista, widen to six lanes.
* Interchange Improvements.
Highway 395 improvements would include:
* I-80 interchange to Lemmon Drive, widen to eight lanes.
* Lemmon Drive to Stead Boulevard, widen to six lanes.
* Interchange improvements.
Pyramid Highway improvements target:
* Nugget Avenue to McCarran Boulevard, widen to six lanes.
* McCarran to Lazy 5 Parkway, widen to eight lanes.
* Lazy 5 Parkway to Calle De La Plata Drive, widen to six lanes.
The Tahoe Pyramid Link, under study by the Regional Transportation Commission, remains a wild card in the Reno traffic flow equation.
Residents have protested proposed routes, slowing planning of the route from south Reno to Pyramid Highway.