USA Parkway project before NDOT Board Monday

One of four companies vying to build the USA Parkway will get the nod from NDOT staff when the board will meet Monday.

Director Rudy Malfabon will present to the board, headed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, with the apparent best bidder to construct the parkway connecting U.S. 50 to Interstate 80.

Described as a key element in the deal that brought the Tesla/Panasonic gigafactory battery plant to the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, the $71 million project was put at the top of the Northern Nevada construction projects list by the NDOT board in November 2014.

The four construction companies in the running for the contract are Ames Construction, Granite Construction, Kiewit and Q&D Construction.

Malfabon said the board will get the staff recommendation and all the details of the plan Monday but won’t vote on the contract until the January meeting.

The project will be built using the design-build process in which construction actually will begin while the highway will be designed. It’s a much faster way to build road projects. In this case, the goal is to have the roadway open to traffic before the end of 2017.

The Parkway will wind 18 miles through the mountains in Storey County from TRIC to Opal Avenue in Silver Springs. About six miles of the route has already been paved — from Interstate 80 into the industrial center. That portion of the highway will have to be upgraded to state standards. Another five miles has been graded but not yet paved. The remaining eight miles through the Virginia Highlands will have to be designed and constructed by the contractor to complete the parkway.

The connection will not only greatly improve freight movement from TRIC south but open a route for workers living in the Dayton corridor to jobs at the Tesla plant and other businesses in the industrial center. It will also provide a much shorter route between Lyon County and Reno.

Malfabon said because of that, the parkway project has the potential to generate more than nine times its cost in savings. Gov. Brian Sandoval said when the project was originally approved it was the highest cost-benefit ratio he has seen in his tenure on the board.

“The project will further connect Nevada, not just by reducing travel times and connecting potential workers to employment centers on a regional level, but also for economic development,” said Malfabon. “Studies show that the project will reduce travel time by as much as 38 percent for those traveling between Silver Springs and I-80.”

The highway itself will cost an estimated $66 million. It will cost another $5 million to expand Highway 50 to four lanes where the parkway ends in Silver Springs.

Finally, the right-of-way rights through the hills will cost about $43 million, money that will come out of the roughly $200 million NDOT Highway Fund.


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