The USA Parkway project opens next week, with just a few details left to go before the 12-mile extension is finished. Crews broke ground on the project 16 months ago, which connects Interstate 80 at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center to U.S. 50 in Silver Springs.
“We’re going to see, I think, some sophisticated housing come out here, shopping, public safety, all those things that it’s going to really balance things out so it’s not too much pressure on Washoe County,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said. “So Lyon County can have the opportunities as well.”
Sandoval unveiled the USA Parkway’s new honorary name during a ribbon-cutting ceremony, with a road sign reading “Infinity Highway”. The road stretches a total of 18 miles, including the existing six miles. The remaining work includes safety features like cable installations on medians and guard rails.
“We want it to be ultimately safe before we open it to traffic,” Rudy Malfabon, Director of NDOT said. “We don’t want to have it in a type of halfway complete condition for the safety element.”
The road opens the region up for more economic development to go along with existing TRI companies like Tesla, SWITCH, Walmart and Google.
“It’s desert landscape all around us,” Sandoval said. “Soon, this is going to be sophisticated development. It has put northern Nevada on the map and I’m excited about what’s going to be.”
During the ceremony, TRI Principal and Director Lance Gilman announced that two more tech companies are purchasing a total of 4,100 acres along USA Parkway. Reno Land Development is buying 700 acres.
“The commerce piece of this, you can’t even really put a value on this,” Sandoval said. “It allows the companies that are here to operate another hour or two hours with regard to their distribution.”
Along with shipping, commuting will be much faster for people living along Highway 50, from Carson City to Fallon, and south to Yerington. Silver Springs could see some significant changes in development.
“There is a lot of land and a lot of development planned in the Silver Springs area for homes but at the same time, we’re hoping to see businesses and commercial interests to go in with those homes,” Doug Bennett, President of the Lyon County Business Development Association said.
Silver Springs is already planning to build a downtown in the area near USA Parkway, giving the town more commercial opportunities.
“We’re actually going to create a community that you can actually walk to it from shop to shop, your groceries, movie theaters, hotels,” Vida Keller, Vice President of the Lyon County Business Development Association said.
The new highway opens during a time of growth at TRI, and that makes Silver Springs, Stagecoach and Dayton more appealing for employees who commute to the industrial center. More people are expected to move to those areas.
“There’s discussion about Silver Springs growing to twice its current size, maybe something the size of Fernley,” Bennett said. “Just the magnitude of that change would be immense.”
For those who already work at TRI, the commute will be 15-20 minutes which cuts the time in half from the current route.
“They get to spend at least an hour longer with their wives, their husbands, their children, their dogs, mow the yard. It’s a way of life. It’s going to be a game-changer for them.”
Sandoval says the road will take some traffic away from the Spaghetti Bowl, since commuters from Carson City and other areas have to go that direction to get to TRI. USA Parkway’s connection to U.S. 50 will allow an alternate route.
“It was only a few weeks ago that I-80 was closed because of a fire and it’s often closed because of accidents, and now it’ll be two access points,” Sandoval said. “It’ll really make a difference.”