RENO, NV - The need for a high speed link between Reno and Carson City was, in fact, identified and discussed a half century ago. It's almost complete, but getting here wasn't easy.
The decision to build the last section of freeway from the Mount Rose Highway to Washoe Valley through the Steamboat Hills wasn't made by NDOT engineers or state budget officials.
It was a purely political decision by a panel of Washoe County officials caught in the crossfire of a bitter dispute between neighborhoods in the path of other alternatives.
Picked from a list of more than a dozen possibilities, they couldn't have selected a more difficult or expensive route.
Today as it's nearing completion it's worth remembering what was required.
"Just the cuts alone that are on the north side of Galena Creek. You're talking about $1.8 million cubic yards coming out of those cuts," says NDOT's Project Engineer Brad Durski. "You can't fathom what $1.9 million cubic yards looks like."
The cuts today are already well camouflaged by rock work and other erosion control measures. Plantings of native vegetation will complete the job.
Below the Galena Creek Bridge the stream and canyon are being restored. The remnants of the big reinforced earth fill, once the world's largest are being removed.
There are actually nine bridges on this project, but the centerpiece has always been the big bridge at Galena Creek.
It proved the biggest challenge. The first contractor walked away in defeat, building it has been a triumph for all involved.
"Once the bridge actually got complete everyone heaved a big sigh of relief. You know we were all just happy to get that bridge done. We have the largest cathedral arch bridge in the world. We built a landmark."