Hundreds of residents and other interested parties attended the Pyramid/McCarran Intersection Improvement Project presentation held last Wednesday, just days prior to the beginning of construction at the busy Sparks intersection.
Held adjacent to the construction site at the Wadsworth Masonic Hall at Pyramid and York ways, the gathering was packed – so packed that they ran out of information packets – and the presentation started earlier than billed due to the crowd. A second presentation also was held later in the evening.
In the various planning stages for more than a decade, the gathering was the final meeting of more than 60 community meetings held prior to breaking ground on Monday, April 4.
RTC Project Manager Scott Gibson kicked off the presentation of the $73 million project by introducing members of the team including Granite Construction who is the company of record for the project that will continue to Winter/Spring 2018.
While Gibson answered many questions during a PowerPoint presentation and Question & Answer sessions, he encouraged individuals to meet with team members stationed at the various informational “boards” around the room so their individual concerns could be addressed. He also encouraged all to visit the project’s website for more information as well as project updates.
People listened attentively as the project will affect all of them – they will have to leave home earlier or be delayed getting home no matter the time of day. Some questions indicated this was the first time some of the public had attended the informational meetings.
“The project goals are to improve safety at this intersection,” he said. “It is a high-crash location, always the Number 1 crash location in Sparks as well as in the Truckee Meadows. It’s to reduce congestion from all of the growth we’ve had in north Sparks and Wingfield Springs.” More than 60,000 vehicles travel through the intersection daily.
Gibson said the federally funded project will add bicycle lanes and pedestrian walkways as well as improve the landscaping with a 10-foot wide multi-use trail, visual screening walls and details reflecting a Pyramid Lake theme. He called it a gateway to the traditional Sparks as well as to Pyramid Lake.
For the first month, construction activity will be focused on the southeast quadrant – from Queen Way south to York Way – as a trench will be dug to house utilities: NV Energy power lines, AT&T lines and Charter Communications’ fiber optic lines. All are going underground.
Throughout construction, Gibson said two lanes of traffic will be maintained on Pyramid and McCarran so traffic flow will remain as it is today.
Also addressed was access to businesses including the Sparks Mercantile shopping center. Roberta Lane will be the main access to the shopping during the entire project except for two marathon weekend sessions as yet unscheduled. For an unspecified period of time, there will be no access from McCarran Boulevard.
It was obvious that RTC’s team was concerned about limiting access to the shopping center as well as other businesses on the west side of Pyramid. He encouraged the public to continue to patronize all the businesses in the area.
There will be a weekly gift card program – accessed on the website – to support local businesses.
And, cameras will be mounted along the route so people can check in on the website in the morning and see the traffic status. Medians on McCarran will be removed to allow traffic controls be moved back and forth across McCarran as the phases progress.
During the Question & Answer session, one woman asked about delays to southbound traffic. She was told two lanes would always be available.
Another woman asked if the signage would keep people from cutting through the neighborhood? Gordon said with Queen Way closed, the lack of through traffic would cut the number of vehicles.
One resident next asked if the project’s budget was “fixed price.” He was told that the $73 million awarded by the federal government was all that the project would get. Of those monies, $40 million already has been spent to acquire the homes and relocate the people.
Another questioner asked about Washoe County’s liability and if Granite Construction was bonded.
Along the way, Gordon said one lane in each direction will be added to Pyramid. A right turn lane will be added starting at Queen Way as it goes south to McCarran. There will be triple left turns in the evening on eastbound McCarran to northbound Pyramid. Turn lanes will be added in every direction.
One woman wanted to know if her taxes would increase. She was told no, that funds are derived from the federal 18 cents per gallon gas tax.
Gordon was challenged by one resident who wanted to know why an overpass was not considered, that with the present plans, no stoplights were eliminated. The questioner was told an overpass was outside of the scope of what was viewed.
For more information, log onto http://pyramidmccarran.com.