Nevada to Build Truck Parking Areas Along Northern I-80
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New truck parking construction will start this summer on a northern Nevada freight route on Interstate 80 at the Golconda Summit so drivers no longer have to park along roadway shoulder ramps to rest.
I-80 is a critical east-west trade route connecting Nevada with California that often experiences closures due to bad weather from snow, ice and fog in the area from Reno, Nev., to Tahoe City, Calif. The interstate and also I-15 are the state’s top freight corridors connecting urban freight centers in Las Vegas and the Reno-Sparks-Carson City area with out-of-state freight hubs.
Currently, there are no designated parking spaces or lots for drivers making a trip through the mountain pass who want to stop to rest at the Golconda Summit. Their only option is to pull over onto the wide spaces on interstate ramps or park on frontage roads, Meg Ragonese, spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Transportation, told Transport Topics.
“This project will build designated truck parking lots for both the eastbound and westbound directions of travel. The project will install multiple vault toilets at each parking lot. New lighting and enclosed trash bins will also be installed,” Ragonese said.
The plan for I-80 in southeast Humboldt County is to build 25 parking stalls for eastbound drivers and 24 stalls on the westbound side. To facilitate the new truck parking stalls and access from I-80, the existing interchange will be reconfigured. The cost for the interchange reconfiguration and truck parking will be $25 million as part of a total $52 million project that includes adding truck climbing lanes, bridge replacements and hydraulic improvements, Ragonese explained.
Expected to start later this summer, work at the site will continue into next year’s construction season, she added. Some 3 miles of truck climbing lanes in both directions will be built there.
“With almost half [45%] of traffic in the area consisting of large trucks, the new truck lane and parking facilities will enhance freight travel and mobility along this critical national freight route,” Ragonese said. “The truck climbing lanes will also enhance travel for all vehicles on this section of I-80, helping to reduce the impact of speed differentials created as heavier vehicles travel more slowly up the grade.”
A truck travels along Interstate 80 in northeastern Nevada. (Nevada Department of Transportation)
NDOT is working to improve freight transportation by adding truck climbing lanes to provide better passage and safety in the state’s numerous mountainous areas. During a July 10 state transportation board meeting that reviewed/approved the I-80 construction at Golconda Summit, officials also OK’d widening I-15 (by 16 feet from the inside lane to the median) to create a truck climbing lane for northbound travel between the Ute and Byron interchanges in Clark County.
Nevada’s July 2022 state Freight Plan Update described a shortage of truck parking as a serious problem. It mentioned that the state’s closeness to major incoming West Coast freight centers results in many longhaul truck drivers often reaching their federally mandated break times while traveling within Nevada’s boundaries.
“As a result, drivers are faced with a dilemma: park in unsafe locations when there is not available truck parking or illegally drive to find such parking,” NDOT added. “The statewide shortage of truck parking impacts northern Nevada, particularly during winter storm events when I-80 is closed in the Sierras. In southern Nevada, the increasing development of warehouse and industrial land uses near residential areas has exacerbated the need for more designated truck parking areas.”
State transportation officials identified locations lacking truck parking facilities with amenities within a two-hour drive. These were along U.S. Route 93 (between Las Vegas and Ely) and two areas on U.S. Route 95 (from Tonopah to Fernley in California, as well as between Winnemucca, Nev., and over the border into Idaho’s town of Marsing).
The state transportation board has just approved vital new Nevada highway construction projects and agreements.
Together, the projects will cumulatively support 1,184 jobs for a year. #nevadajobs pic.twitter.com/uRFIveWiz4 — Nevada DOT (@nevadadot) July 10, 2023
Other places in Nevada without adequate trucking rest areas included Clark County, which “had a deficit of more than 550 truck parking spaces,” and Washoe County, which needs 250 spaces.
Another issue identified for improvement was sufficient technology and information to help truck drivers locate available parking places.
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