RENO, NV - Welcome news for commuters, but for some landscaping, the big rebuild project on I-80 through the valley is done. The roadway is open.
It's actually been just over a year, but to those who travel I-80 through the Truckee Meadows every day, it seems so much longer that we navigated those narrow lanes and short merges, dealt with the closure of this off ramp or that.
Now suddenly the roadway seems so open, the traffic so fast. It's not all illusion.
"We have an auxiliary lane from Keystone Avenue all the way to the Spaghetti Bowl," says Kathleen Taylor of the I-80 Design Build Team.
That should ease the big backup at the Spaghetti Bowl every morning. They also added a lane between East McCarran and Vista Boulevard.
And it's now 65 miles an hour all the way through the valley.
Though it seems like we've lived with the restrictions forever, all this is actually happening three months sooner than planned. They were helped by a mild winter and some good coordination, but this is also the first design build project of its kind in northern Nevada and that sped things up as well.
"The department knew this was going to be a big project that would impact some folks downtown so they went out with a design build procurement method which allowed for a shorter build and design time."
If they'd been laying asphalt they might have finished even earlier, but they'd also have been back sooner. The concrete they've laid is built to last. They expect to get 40 years out of the new roadway.
There will still be a few night time closures in the weeks ahead as they finish up landscaping and aesthetics.
But the roadway itself is done.