Interstate 580 Nevada
Interstate 580 overlays U.S. 395 in western Nevada between Fairview Drive in Carson City and I-80 in Reno. Completion of the freeway through Washoe Valley connected the Nevada capital city to the Interstate system. I-580 serves both through traffic and commuters, varying between urban stretches through Reno and Carson City, and hugging the eastern slopes of Steamboat Hills to the Galena Creek concrete arch bridge overlooking Pleasant Valley.
Opened at 10 AM on August 2, 2017,8 the 3.146 mile long link from Fairview Drive (Exit 38) south to U.S. 50 and U.S. 395 at S Carson Street completed the 35 mile route. Exit numbers along I-580 use U.S. 395 mileposts, increasing from the California state line at Topaz Lake.
High Priority Corridor
Interstate 580 in Nevada is part of High Priority Corridor 68: Washoe County Corridor and U.S. 95 Las Vegas to Reno Corridor.
Planning for the North-South Freeway in Reno started in 1957. Studies underway by 1963 resulted in a recommended freeway alignment in 1968. Community opposition however, and lawsuits filed in 1972 and 1973, required an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) be conducted. Meanwhile work on the freeway north from Reno was underway, with U.S. 395 completed from Exit 35 (formerly Exit 67) (2nd Street / Glendale Avenue) to Exit 72 (North Virginia Street) at Panther Valley. This section opened to traffic in 1973.3
The Final EIS for the North-South Freeway was completed in January 1977. Construction followed on the limited access highway between 2nd Street / Glendale Avenue and S. Virginia Street (Exit 31). This section opened to traffic in 1980.3
4.2 miles of the North-South Freeway (U.S. 395) between I-80 and S. Virginia Street (U.S. 395 Business) was conditionally approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on August 18, 1978 as Interstate 380. That numbering was short lived as by August 31, 1978, the designation was revised to I-580 in order to be consistent with the numbering of the I-515 spur in Las Vegas.9
A short stretch of Interstate 580 was opened to traffic from I-80 south to Villanova Drive in 1980. U.S. 395 temporary shifted to Kietzke Lane (SR 667) to continue south to Virginia Street. The unsigned route was sometimes shown as “Spur I-580” on 1980s road maps.
A Supplemental EIS for the U.S. 395 freeway leading south from S. Virginia Street (U.S. 395 Business) to Winters Ranch (near Washoe City) was conducted from 1979 to 1983. Construction got underway afterwards, with the initial North-South Freeway extension completed between Exits 29 and 31 (formerly Exits 61 and 63) in 1983. The remainder of the freeway south to SR 431 / Mt. Rose Highway was finished in 1998.3
It was during a brief period in the early to mid 1980s that I-580 appeared to be signed along the North-South Freeway. As noted by contributor Jeff Royston, some shields may have been posted. Dave Billeci further added that in 1983 he observed signs for both U.S. 395 and I-580 in Reno south of the interchange with Interstate 80, as well as on overhead signs along I-80 east at the exchange. He noted that these were removed a few years later.1
An extension of the Interstate 580 designation southward to Carson City was formally proposed and accepted by late 1984. Reasons included for the extension included the need to link the Nevada state capital city to the Interstate system as well as for an improved commuter route.10 The FHWA approval also allowed for I-580 to be established along additional segments as they were constructed and opened.2 The 2002 FHWA Route Log and Finders List officially recognized Interstate 580 as extending between Neil Road (formerly Del Monte Lane) north to Interstate 80 at Exit 15 via U.S. 395.
Work on the I-580 Freeway Extension Project was underway in 2003, following to the west of U.S. 395 from Steamboat south to Pleasant Valley and Washoe City.3 Simultaneously to the south, construction on the Carson City Freeway portion of I-580 upgraded a four-lane segment of U.S. 395 to Interstate standards at Lakeview and the Washoe County / Carson City line. Costing over $200 million, ground breaking for Phase 1 of the Carson City Freeway took place in 2000.4