The final stretch of the Carson City Freeway is starting to look like a freeway.
Crews from Road and Highway Builders have begun laying asphalt on the four-mile section between Fairview Drive and Spooner Junction.
With nearly all the 20-inch thick base down and compacted and paving under way, NDOT Resident Engineer Ashley Hurlbut said the project is now officially more than half complete. To prepare the roadbed, NDOT officials say the contractor has moved almost a million cubic yards of material.
Project Manager Will Hellickson said the plan is to get the two-inch thick layers of blacktop down on top of the base before the weather turns cold. That’s three layers on a total of more than 15 lane miles to pave the four-lane freeway, he said.
He said they hope it stays warm enough to pave until early November. They had put down one layer on 1.5 miles of roadbed as of Monday and were starting the second layer on that lane.
Hellickson said the final three-quarter inch finish coat will go on next spring, probably in May.
Next spring, crews will, so to speak, put the face on the project: Building the intersection that connects the bypass to U.S. 395 south at Carson Street and U.S. 50 up to Spooner Summit.
For the time being, that intersection will be at-grade, controlled by signal lights. That saved nearly $20 million and moved the final phase of the project forward by as much as two years. Eventually, when the money is available, it will be rebuilt as a full freeway interchange.
The project was put behind schedule last winter by rain and snow that turned the route into a muddy mess in December and January. Crews had to wait until the route dried enough that heavy trucks and earthmovers could get back to work.
Weather has been much more cooperative since then and Hellickson said work is progressing well even though they haven’t made up the lost time.
Since the last update in March, about three-quarters of the 14,440 feet of sound walls has been installed. He said those walls consume about $8 million of the overall $42.24 million contract when completed in mid-October.
When the project is finished next summer, the freeway will extend all the way from Arrowhead Drive to Spooner Junction, removing all the through traffic, especially trucks, from Carson Street through town.