The City of Sparks and the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is in the middle of finishing the design process for the new Oddie Wells Project, expected to be completed in autumn of this year. The roadway rehabilitation project spans from Oddie Boulevard starting at Pyramid Way over to Wells Avenue in Reno, crossing city lines north of I-80.
The major goals of this project are to improve accessibility, connectivity, and safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. The Oddie Wells roadway design includes making pedestrian sidewalks ADA-compliant, creating a multi-use, raised cycle track for bicyclists, and raising medians so that motorists can better navigate intersections.
“We’re adding sidewalks to existing empty space around Oddie Boulevard. What is currently there is dirt that we’ll be utilizing for the sidewalks and landscaping,” RTC Project Manager Maria Paz Fernandez says.
The Oddie Wells Project timeline started back in 2013 when local stakeholders including the City of Sparks, City of Reno, NDOT (Nevada Department of Transportation), and the RTC completed a preliminary study of the roadway. It all depends on funding constraints and how a project fits into RTC’s master plan on when a roadway project can come to fruition; it’s usually a 4-year timeframe from when a study is initiated to when design and construction goes underway, but the RTC emphasizes that it is all funding-dependent. The 3.2- mile Oddie Wells Project is expected to cost around $30 million, funded through local fuel tax dollars.
The Preliminary Design process of the Oddie Wells Project began in February 2019 and is now about 60 percent done. Local agencies are hoping to receive a final design this fall with construction to begin in 2021.
The proposed design concept includes shade trees and features such as contemporary Candela lights on pedestrian walkways, LED roadway lights, and six-foot high graffiti-resistant brown concrete modules. Implementing shade trees and landscaping design makes it more inviting for pedestrians to use the walkways and is also a part of the City of Reno’s roadway construction standards.
“The trees may carry over to Sparks, but they require ongoing maintenance, so we have to be mindful of that,” Fernandez says.
“It’s important for us to keep consistency in the roadway between the City of Reno and the City of Sparks, though,” RTC Public Information Officer Lauren Ball adds.
The RTC hosted a community meeting on January 23 where Sparks residents seemed pleased about the proposed changes to Oddie Boulevard.
“Most people are really enthusiastic about the changes. The residents like the concrete wall and the bicyclists are excited about the raised cycle track,” Ball says.
The RTC is still looking for community feedback regarding the Oddie Wells Project; for more information about it or to see the plans, visit http://oddiewellsproject.com/.