Nevada Department of Transportation was able to complete a highway widening project to eliminate congestion for commuters five months ahead of schedule with its US 395 Northbound Improvement project.
According to NDOT, traffic on the 3.2-mile stretch of northbound US 395 between Moana Lane and Interstate 80 in Reno had been steadily increasing, causing major congestion delays for the 150,000 daily commuters. Each day, those drivers would sit in gridlock, especially during rush hour. To deal with this congestion issue, NDOT chose to widen the segment through a $31.5 million project. NDOT would focus on adding multiple lanes, realigning the on and off ramps through this area, and widening five bridges.
NDOT awarded the contract to Granite Construction in March 2010 with the hope of completing all work by November 2011. However, after some additional planning, NDOT and Granite Construction decided to change the schedule to allow crews to work on multiple phases of the project at the same time. Those changes included a full closure of some of those on and off ramps for two weeks at a time instead of the original plan, which called for each ramp to be partially closed for three months. Along with adjusting its schedule, NDOT also conducted weekly job walks, held partnering meetings, and released pre- and post-activity reports that kept all stakeholders in the loop on all aspects of the project.
Due to the strong partnership between NDOT, Granite Construction, and the community, the northbound lanes of US 395 were opened to traffic in June 2011—five full months ahead of schedule. A success all around, the widened highway now saves each of the 150,000 vehicles that utilize the roadway per day about 13 minutes of travel time.
Due to the project's success and early completion, the project was named to the Top 10 of the 2012 America's Transportation Awards competition and is currently vying for the Grand Prize and People's Choice award, which will be announced at the AASHTO Annual Meeting next week.