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U.S. Highway 395 - Nevada

Routing

U.S. 395 runs from Interstate 15 near Victorville, California, north into Washington. It enters Nevada briefly near Lake Tahoe, Carson City, and Reno-Sparks. Through much of this area, U.S. 395 is either multi-lane divided highway or freeway. The section of U.S. 395 freeway south of Interstate 80 is designated as the "hidden" Interstate 580.

Following the east, or "back" side of the Sierra, U.S. 395 is a fairly well-traveled route between the bright lights of Southern California and the relative tranquility of the mountains and valleys. This is also the main route to Reno and Lake Tahoe from Southern California, so tent-trailers and campers are quite common. Much of the California section of U.S. 395 is two- to four-lanes with some expressway sections.

Upon entering Nevada just south of Holbrook Junction (Nevada 208), U.S. 395 is mostly two lanes until it enters the Carson Valley. Traffic increases significantly as you approach the Gardnerville-Minden area (including the Nevada 88 Junction). U.S. 395 widens to an at-grade expressway from Minden north to Carson City.

At Carson City, U.S. 395 shifts onto the Interstate 580 freeway. The two share pavement from Carson City north to Reno, signed both as Interstate 580 and U.S. 395. At Interstate 80, the Interstate 580 companion designation ends, and U.S. 395 proceeds north to Bordertown, where it reenters California.

History

Like many U.S. routes in Nevada, U.S. 395 was not an original 1926 U.S. highway -- it was designated in 1935.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Freeway (originally built as the North-South Freeway) carries Interstate 580 and U.S. 395 through Reno. This freeway, along with the Carson City Bypass and Pleasant Valley Bypass was constructed in phases according to the Interstate 580 Freeway Extension web page (click on "History & Overview"). The following provides opening dates for the freeway:

  • 1964-1970 - Segment from Alternate U.S. 395 and former Nevada 428 (Exit 44) at Lakeview north to Winters Ranch (near Exit 50, Alternate U.S. 395 and former Nevada 429) opened
  • 1973 - Segment from Nevada 648/Glendale Avenue (Exit 67) north to Business U.S. 395/Virginia Street at Panther Valley (Exit 72) opened
  • 1980 - Segment from Business U.S. 395 (Nevada 430)/South Virginia Street (Exit 63) north to Nevada 648/Glendale Avenue (Exit 67) opened
  • 1983 - Segment between Exits 61 and 63 (both Business U.S. 395/Virginia Street) opened
  • 1998 - Segment from Mt. Rose Junction (Nevada 431/Mt. Rose Highway and Nevada 341/Geiger Grade Road) (Exit 56) north to Business U.S. 395 (Nevada 430)/South Virginia Street (Exit 61) opened
  • February 16, 2006 - Segment from U.S. 50 and Nevada 530/East William Street northwest to Business U.S. 395 (Nevada 531)/North Carson Street opened (northern leg of Carson City bypass)
  • September 2009 - Segment from Fairview Drive (Exit 38) north to U.S. 50 and Nevada 530/East William Street (Exit 39) opened
  • August 24, 2012 and August 27, 2012 - Segment from Washoe Lake (near Bowers Mansion) (Exit 50) and Mt. Rose Junction (interchange with Nevada 431/Mount Rose Highway and Nevada 341/Geiger Grade Road) (Exit 56) opened,1 including the signature Galena Creek Bridge (1,700 feet long, 690 feet tall, "world's largest concrete cathedral arch bridge")2
  • August-October 2012 - Interstate 580 signs added along with U.S. 395 between Carson City and Reno3, 4
  • 2014 - anticipated completion date from U.S. 50-395/South Carson Street north to Fairview Drive

The project to fill the freeway gap between Washoe Lake and Mt. Rose Junction was primarily done because of safety concerns on Alternate U.S. 395 (Old Highway 395) through Pleasant Valley. Several fatal accidents occurred on this stretch of Old U.S. 395, and the freeway bypass places a barrier between the two directions of traffic.5 The highway is also anticipated to restore connectivity between the communities of Steamboat, Pleasant Valley, and Washoe City.

U.S. 395 Auxiliary Routes

  • Alternate Routes:
    • Alternate U.S. 395 (created on May 18, 2012) follows Old U.S. 395 along what briefly signed as Nevada 429 and Nevada 430 between Washoe Lake and Reno via Washoe City and Mt. Rose Junction. We have pages on both Alternate U.S. 395 north and Alternate U.S. 395 south
    • Alternate U.S. 395 (retired) was Sierra Street in Reno, which provided a close alternate (parallel city street only one block east of Virginia Street) that might have served as relief for busy Virginia Street. Alternate U.S. 395 was decommissioned prior to the construction of Interstate 580 and the U.S. 395 freeway.
  • Business Routes:
    • Business U.S. 395 (Nevada 529) in Carson City was commissioned upon completion of the northern half of the Interstate 580 Carson City Bypass. As of 2012, Business U.S. 395 is signed along Carson Street from Fairview Drive north to Interstate 580.
    • Business U.S. 395 is Virginia Street through Reno along the original U.S. 395 alignment. Although many overhead signs and one cut-out sign remains downtown, there is not an abundance of Business U.S. 395 signs. Business U.S. 395 used to be well-signed from Interstate 80, but Nevada DOT took those signs down in 1996 to alleviate motorist confusion between the business route and freeway route. However, Business U.S. 395 remains signed sporadically along Virginia Street through Reno. The state-maintained segment is also designated as Nevada 430.

U.S. 395 Highway Guides

Scenes Pertaining to U.S. 395
This series of pictures shows the Nevada state capitol and adjacent grounds, which are located right off Carson Street (former U.S. 395 and today's Business U.S. 395). Nevada's capitol building was built in 1871 (with additions constructed in 1915), using a plot of land in Carson City that was set aside when town planning was underway in 1858. Photos taken 07/19/09.
An exhibit within the capital building discusses the history of the Lincoln Highway, which follows U.S. 50 across central Nevada and passes through Carson City. An old route marker (from the California State Automobile Association) is preserved inside the museum. Photos taken 07/19/09.
Nevada's Supreme Court building is located next to the Nevada capitol building and is partially visible from Carson Street (Business U.S. 50, Business U.S. 395, and Nevada 529). Photos taken 07/19/09.
A statute of Kit Carson -- whose name appears on plenty of geographical features such as the Carson River, Carson Valley, Carson City, Carson Range, and Carson Pass -- is located on the capitol grounds in Carson City. Photos taken 07/19/09.
This view looks west from the capitol building across Carson Street (Business U.S. 50, Business U.S. 395, and Nevada 529) toward the Office of the Attorney General. Photos taken 07/19/09.
The Nevada State Assembly building was built in 1971 south of the historic capitol building. Photos taken 07/19/09.
Located on the southwest corner of Third and Carson streets, the St. Charles Hotel is a historic structure built in 1862 and the beneficiary today of redevelopment as a hotel and locally well known pub (Firkin & Fox). This view looks west from the Capitol Mall. Photos taken 07/19/09.
This view looks north along Carson Street in the Capitol Mall area near the Nevada State Assembly building. The lawn is impeccably manicured and lined with beautiful trees. Photos taken 07/19/09.

Footnotes:

  1. New I-580 Freeway Opening Date Announced by Pat Hambright, KOLO-TV Reno, August 14, 2012. Relevant quote: "NDOT tweeted on Tuesday that the southbound lanes of the new road will open August 24th, and the northbound lanes on August 27th."
  2. Gov. Brian Sandoval: I-580: The history — and the promise by Governor Brian Sandoval, FOX-Reno News, August 14, 2012. Relevant quote: "The construction of the Galena Creek Bridge has generated positive local and national media attention to our region. At 1,700 feet in length, it has been billed as the world's largest concrete cathedral arch bridge — an architectural marvel."
  3. I-580 Or US 395? by Terri Russell, KOLO-TV Reno, August 16, 2012. Relevant quote: "Our I-580 goes from the Reno spaghetti bowl about 40 miles into Carson City. It will eventually end when we complete the Carson Freeway at the Spooner Summit Junction there on Highway 50. It is also 395. So the signs technically 580-slash 395,” says Scott Magruder with the Nevada Department of Transportation. I-580 signs have been going up all along the 395 corridor. Magruder says soon 395 markers will be placed along side. When the new roadway opens to Carson City it will be I-580 and US 395."
  4. New I-580's name explained by Dina Kupfer, NEWS 4 Reno KRNV-TV, August 7, 2012. Relevant quote: "I-580 is called an "interstate spur," meaning, it's built to interstate standards with a divided highway and limited access. Magruder says this helps for moving goods and services, and it makes for a safe highway. Once the new six lane highway from Mt. Rose Highway to Washoe Valley opens to traffic, the road through Pleasant Valley will be known as U.S. 395 Alternate."
  5. Gov. Brian Sandoval: I-580: The history — and the promise by Governor Brian Sandoval, FOX-Reno News, August 14, 2012. Relevant quote: "According to NDOT, more than 40,000 vehicles use U.S. 395 every day, and a large percentage of those vehicles will use the new I-580 freeway once it opens to traffic. Tragically, since 1990 there have been more than a dozen fatalities on the current route, many caused by head-on collisions. Now, commuters will enjoy a divided highway, separated by a 4-foot high center median that will all but eliminate the possibility of a head-on collision. Additionally, as a result of Northern Nevada having an interstate freeway connecting Reno with the state's capital, residents living along the existing U.S. 395 highway will get their communities back. There will be less traffic passing through the valley during the morning and afternoon rush hours once the freeway officially opens to traffic in the next couple of weeks. Children, families and local drivers will be much safer.."

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Page Updated August 16, 2012.