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I-80 in Northern Nevada Gets Design-Build Project

Fri July 29, 2011 - West Edition
Erik Pisor

Rail and sign demolition was completed to accommodate I-80 eastbound traffic.
Rail and sign demolition was completed to accommodate I-80 eastbound traffic.
Rail and sign demolition was completed to accommodate I-80 eastbound traffic. A view of Keystone Ave. I-80 eastbound on-ramp, which will be widened as part of the design-build project.

After completing its first design-build project a year ahead of schedule, the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) is underway on a $72 million job in Reno-Sparks that also utilizes the design-build project delivery method.

“It’s the first design-build project that the department has taken on in Northern Nevada, the other one was in Las Vegas,” said Meg Ragonese, NDOT public information officer, adding the project is the first in the state that involves the installation of freeway ramp meters that regulate the flow of oncoming freeway traffic.

Located along Interstate 80, the design-build job primarily includes pavement rehabilitation on approximately 40-year-old concrete between Keystone Avenue and Fourth Street; along with installing Intelligent Transportation Systems, widening various off ramps, and providing re-striping and drainage improvements on the interstate between Robb Drive and Vista Boulevard.

The project’s general contractor Granite Construction is utilizing concrete slip form pavers to pour continuous concrete 24 ft. (7.3 m) wide, guillotine concrete breakers to break up concrete, and unloader/placers throughout the project, according to Kathleen Taylor, I-80 Design-Build public information officer.

Early in the project, the contractor built an auxiliary lane in five days to accommodate ramp metering, with NDOT successfully introducing motorists to ramp metering in one week, which was a first for the state.

Beginning on May 31, Granite reduced I-80 eastbound from three lanes to two lanes near downtown Reno between Keystone Avenue and Fourth Street. Starting on June 6, a 3-mi. (4.8 -km) section of I-80 westbound was switched to the eastbound side of the freeway and reduced to two lanes.

Throughout the project, motorists can expect lane, shoulder and ramp closures near downtown Reno, with the I-80 westbound Wells Avenue on and off ramps and the Fourth Street on ramp closed for the 2011 construction season.

The design-build project is slated to be complete in two years, however the possibility of early completion exists.

“It’s (design-build) a more time efficient and effective project delivery method because of the collaboration (between agency and contractor),” Ragonese said.

Design-build highway projects appear to be Granite Construction’s calling card, as in late June the California Department of Transportation awarded its first ever design-build project to the contractor. The $37 million project will repair nearly 4 mi. (6.4 km) of Highway 99 in both directions in the city of Chowchilla.

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