Tuesday we got to take a tour of the new freeway extension south of Reno. There were about thirty of us in 3 Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) vans.
We had to wear vests and hard hats. Do we look ready to pick up garbage on the side of the road?
The project cost about $550 million and is along the edge of the hills west of the current 395 highway. It would have been much easier and cheaper to build the freeway through the valley but the homeowners didn't want it there and the politicians decided on the current route even though it was much more difficult to build and much more expensive.
The new freeway is 8.5 miles long and includes several bridges. The biggest is the new Galena Creek Bridge – the longest concrete cathedral arch bridge in the nation.
The first contractor decided that construction of the bridge would be too difficult so there was a break in constuction while NDOT went out for bids and brought in a new contractor. In order to build the arch they filled in the area under the bridge, built the arch, and are now taking all the fill out. The giant earth moving trucks under the bridge don't look very big in the picture above.
The project web site has lots of interesting information There is also a time lapse video of the bridge being built. I thought I might be able to include it here but I have spent way too much time trying to figure out how to do it and I have given up. If you go to the web site and look under photos and videos you will be able to find the time lapse video. I think the east facing camera is the best.