On Your Side: Is $72 million Pyramid-McCarran project paying off?
About 60,000 drivers pass through the Pyramid-McCarran intersection in Sparks every day, with fewer hassles and headaches, for the most part, thanks to the newly finished reconstruction.
"The travel time has declined, the safety's improved," said Lee Gibson, the head of the Regional Transportation Commission, during a recent kick-off event for the new interchange.
Two new traffic lanes on Pyramid Way, plus new dedicated turn lanes on both Pyramid and McCarran, are paying off.
Alex Marquez, who uses the intersection five times a day, says he gives the project the thumbs up.
"I move faster," he told us. "I don't stay in traffic a lot."
But not everyone is happy about the changes.
Michelle Miller lives just a block away from the new intersection on Emerson Way. She says her commute takes longer now because this new center median on pyramid prevents her from making a left turn into her neighborhood.
Instead, Miller and her neighbors now have to drive two blocks north on Pyramid to the next signal at Farr, then make a U-turn and drive back two more blocks to get to their homes.
"Forty years, I've been able to turn left onto Emerson and get into my home," Miller told us. "I can't any more."
RTC says with four lanes of traffic in each direction on Pyramid now, it is no longer safe to allow drivers to turn left across oncoming traffic. So that convenience was eliminated with the new design.
But is the new Pyramid-McCarran overhaul and its $72 million price tag simply pushing some traffic issues further up the road?
We found there is still congestion during commute hours further north out in Spanish Springs. RTC officials say that's because the new intersection at Pyramid and Mccarran is working so well.
The added lanes and capacity mean more cars end up getting funneled further out to other intersections, which are not as equipped to handle the increased number of vehicles.
"Traffic still backs up quite a bit," said Miller.
RTC says it is working to improve traffic signal timing to help address that issue.
And even with the newly revamped intersection, there's still the challenge of getting used to so many more drivers on the road these days.
Charles Sexton, a 50 year Sparks resident, says you've got to keep your cool behind the wheel.
"It's just that if people know how to drive in traffic you're all right," he said.
RTC is still in the process of re-timing all of the traffic signals in that area. They just finished studying the new traffic patterns now that the Pyramid and McCarran work has finished. And getting the signals in sync is the next step.
It is all part of the ongoing challenge of keeping with growth and keeping the traffic moving.