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Interstate 80 in Nevada

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This article is about the section of Interstate 80 in Nevada. For the entire route, see Interstate 80.

Interstate 80 marker

Interstate 80
Red line spanning northern Nevada with a blue line spanning Southern Nevada.
Map of Nevada with I-80 in red
Route information
Maintained by NDOT
Length: 410.576 mi[2] (660.758 km)
Existed: June 29, 1956[1] – present
Major junctions
West end: I-80 at California state line
 
East end: I-80 at Utah state line
Highway system
  • Highways in Nevada
US 50 Alt. SR 88

Interstate 80 (I-80) traverses the northern portion of the U.S. state of Nevada. The freeway serves the RenoSparks metropolitan area and also goes through the towns of Fernley, Lovelock, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain, Carlin, Elko, Wells and West Wendover on its way through the state.

I-80 follows the historical routes of the California Trail, First Transcontinental Railroad and Feather River Route throughout portions of Nevada. Throughout the entire state, I-80 follows the historical routes of the Victory Highway, State Route 1 and U.S. Route 40 (US 40). The freeway corridor follows the paths of the Truckee and Humboldt Rivers. These rivers have been used as a transportation corridor since the California Gold Rush of the 1840s.

Route description[edit]

Truckee River[edit]

View east along I-80 just after entering Nevada from California. The First Transcontinental Railroad is visible on the lower right

I-80 enters Nevada in the canyon of the Truckee River, paralleling the California Trail and the First Transcontinental Railroad. Upon exiting the canyon, the freeway serves the Truckee Meadows, a name for the urban area consisting of Verdi, Reno and Sparks. The freeway passes north of Downtown Reno in a depressed alignment before intersecting Interstate 580 / U.S. Route 395. The interchange with US 395 is the busiest portion, averaging 122,000 vehicles per day in 2006.[3] The freeway passes through downtown Sparks via a viaduct over the casino floor of the Nugget Casino Resort. After leaving the Reno–Sparks metropolitan area the freeway resumes following the Truckee River in a canyon to Fernley and passes the Northern Nevada Veterans Cemetery to the north. Traffic volumes drop to 26,600 vehicles per day by Fernley and continue dropping to 8,400 by the time the freeway reaches the center of the state.[3] The freeway exits the Truckee River corridor near Wadsworth.[4]

Lahontan Valley/Forty Mile Desert[edit]

Dusk view of a freeway descending into a neon lit cityscape.
I-80 descending into Reno from the Sierra Nevada

Past Wadsworth, the freeway cuts across the Lahontan Valley. The Lahontan Valley is a barren desert, sometimes called the Forty Mile Desert, from the era of the California Trail. The name comes from the California Gold Rush where the emigrants who came into the Lahontan Valley via the Humboldt River. The travelers would have then to endure 40 miles (64 km) without usable water while crossing the valley, regardless of which of the two routes across the valley the travelers followed.[5] I-80 closely approximates the path of the emigrants between the Humboldt and Truckee Rivers.

A 6-lane freeway passing under a series of underpasses
I-80 in Downtown Reno

A marker stands at a rest area on the eastern edge of the valley, near the junction of I-80 and US 95, that honors travelers who suffered crossing the valley, thousands of whom abandoned possessions, animals and even loved ones in the desert. Per the marker, this portion was the most dreaded portion of the California Trail.[4][5][6]

Humboldt River[edit]

I-80 eastbound on the approach to Emigrant Pass

For the next 246 miles (396 km), I-80 follows the Humboldt River.[7][8] Along the way, the freeway passes through the towns of Lovelock, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain, Carlin, Elko and Wells. At Winnemucca, I-80 is joined by the Feather River Route; I-80 runs parallel to this railroad until the Utah state line.[4]

View east along I-80 from an overpass approaching Carlin Canyon

The freeway is within visual distance of the river for most of this run. However, there are portions where the freeway bypasses bends by cutting across or tunneling under mountains along the canyon walls. Between Winnemucca and Battle Mountain, the freeway bypasses bends via side canyons and Golconda Summit, 5,159 feet (1,572 m).[4] The highway also bypasses Palisade Canyon (between Beowawe and Carlin) via Emigrant Pass 6,114 feet (1,864 m).[4] Just east of Carlin, I-80 passes through the Carlin Tunnel to bypass curves of the river in the Carlin Canyon (between the Carlin Tunnel and Elko).[9]

Eastern Nevada[edit]

gantry sign stating "Exit 410—US-93 Alt—West Wendover—Ely" as a freeway descends into a town with salt flats in the background.
Approaching West Wendover from west

After Wells, I-80 departs the Humboldt River, First Transcontinental Railroad and the California Trail.[4] From this point east, the freeway follows the routes of the Hastings Cutoff, Feather River Route, former US 40 and State Route 1. The freeway cuts across two mountain ranges before arriving at the Great Salt Lake Desert. The first is the Pequop Mountains via Pequop Summit, elevation 6,967 feet (2,124 m)—the highest point on Interstate 80 in Nevada—and the second is the Toano Range via Silver Zone Pass at 5,955 feet (1,815 m). After crossing these mountains the freeway arrives at West Wendover where the freeway enters both Utah and the Great Salt Lake Desert at the Bonneville Salt Flats.[4]

Overlaps[edit]

Portions of I-80 run concurrently with three U.S. Highways in Nevada:[8]

History[edit]

California Trail[edit]

State Route 1 shield
State Route 1 - The first designation for what is now I-80 across Nevada, from approx. 1929–1939

The general route of Interstate 80 was first used by California-bound travelers and was called the California Trail. From the Utah State line west to the Humboldt River, I-80 follows a modified routing of a lesser used branch of the trail called Hastings Cutoff. The cutoff rejoins the main route of the trail in the Humboldt River canyon. Through this portion of Nevada, the main route of the California Trail ran north of modern State Route 233.

From Elko west to Lovelock, I-80 faithfully follows the California Trail. West of Lovelock, in the middle of the Humboldt Sink, the California Trail again splits into two branches. These branches, the Carson River route and the Truckee River route, are named for the waterways that guide each branch up the Sierra Nevada mountains. I-80 follows the Truckee route, the Carson route is approximated by U.S. Route 95, U.S. Route 50, U.S. Route 395 and State Route 88 / California State Route 88.[4]

Transcontinental railroads[edit]

US 40 shield
Until 1975, the route of I-80 was designated U.S. Route 40.

The route of modern I-80 was also previously used for the construction of two transcontinental railroads. The First Transcontinental Railroad, completed in 1869, closely followed the main line of the California Trail and I-80 west of Wells. The Feather River Route was constructed in 1909 and generally follows the Hastings Cutoff through Eastern Nevada. It also runs parallel to I-80 in Nevada east of Winnemucca.[4]

Highways[edit]

The first paved road across this portion of Nevada was the Victory Highway, designated in Nevada as State Route 1. With the formation of the U.S. Highway system, this route was numbered U.S. Route 40. From the formation of the Interstate Highway System, the highway was gradually upgraded to Interstate Highway standards and signed as Interstate 80. In 1974, officials in Utah initiated meetings with officials in Nevada and California to truncate the route of U.S. Route 91. By that time, US 91 was mostly redundant with Interstate 15. Nevada officials agreed and further suggested that both US 91 and US 40 be truncated. Nevada officials recommended the changes occur in 1975, when the last Nevada piece of I-15 was expected to be completed.[10] The 1976 edition of the Official Highway map for Nevada was the first not showing the US 40 designation.[11] Even though the US Highway designation was removed, the freeway was not yet completed.[11] The last piece of I-80 in Nevada to be finished was the Lovelock bypass which started construction in 1981.[12] The 1982 Official Nevada Highway Map was the first to note I-80 as a contiguous freeway across the state. All of the business loops for I-80 in Nevada use the historical route of US 40.

Interstate 80 is also known in Nevada as the Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway and the Purple Heart Trail.[11]

Exit list[edit]

County Location mi[8] km Exit Destinations Notes
Washoe Verdi 0.0 0.0 I-80 west – Sacramento, San Francisco Continuation into California
1 Verdi (I-80 Bus. east) Westbound exit and entrance
2.8 4.5 2 Verdi (I-80 Bus. east to SR 425) No westbound entrance
3.2 5.1 3 Verdi Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
4.8 7.7 4 Boomtown Garson Road
5.7 9.2 5 East Verdi (I-80 Bus. west / SR 425 west) Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
7.0 11.3 7 Mogul
Reno 7.7 12.4 8 West 4th Street (SR 647 east) Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
9.2 14.8 9 Robb Drive
10.7 17.2 10 McCarran Boulevard West (SR 659)
12.5 20.1 12 Keystone Avenue (I-80 Bus. east) Former SR 657
13.3 21.4 13 Virginia Street (US 395 Bus.) Downtown Former SR 430 / SR 660 / US 395; serves University of Nevada, Reno
14.1 22.7 14 Wells Avenue Serves Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center
14.9 24.0 15 I‑580 south / US 395 – Carson City, Susanville Serves Reno–Tahoe International Airport and Reno-Sparks Convention Center; US 395 exit 68
Sparks 15.4 24.8 16 Prater Way, East 4th Street (I-80 Bus. / SR 647 west)
16.1 25.9 17 Rock Boulevard (SR 668) Serves Victorian Square; also signed for Nugget Avenue eastbound
16.8 27.0 18 SR 445 (Pyramid Way) Serves Victorian Square
17.6 28.3 19 McCarran Boulevard East (SR 659 to I-80 Bus. west)
18.9 30.4 20 Sparks Boulevard
19.7 31.7 21 Vista Boulevard, Greg Street
Lockwood 22.6 36.4 22 Lockwood
McCarran 24.0 38.6 23 Mustang
Patrick 28.2 45.4 28 Patrick (Waltham Way, SR 655 south)
Clark 32.1 51.7 32 USA Parkway (SR 439 south) Serves Tahoe Reno Industrial Center; replaced former Tracy, Clark Station exit on January 21, 2008
Derby Dam 36.9 59.4 36 Derby Dam
Orchard 39.0 62.8 38 Orchard
Painted Rock 40.2 64.7 40 Painted Rock
Wadsworth 44.0 70.8 43 Wadsworth, Pyramid Lake (I-80 Bus. east / SR 427 east)
Storey
No major junctions
Lyon Fernley 46.4 74.7 46
To US 95 Alt. south (I-80 Bus. / SR 427) – West Fernley, Yerington, Las Vegas
48.9 78.7 48
US 95 Alt. south (I-80 Bus. west) to US 50 Alt. – East Fernley, Fallon, Ely, Las Vegas
West end of US 95 Alt. overlap
50 Nevada Pacific Boulevard opened on June 19, 2009
Churchill 65.2 104.9 65 Nightingale Hot Springs
78.9 127.0 78 Jessup
Trinity 83.3 134.1 83 US 95 south (Veterans Memorial Highway) – Fallon, Las Vegas East end of US 95 Alt. overlap; west end of US 95 overlap
Pershing Toulon 93.5 150.5 93 Toulon Serves Derby Field
Lovelock 105.5 169.8 105 West Lovelock (I-80 Bus. east / SR 396 north) Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
106.4 171.2 106 Downtown Lovelock (SR 398 north)
107.2 172.5 107 East Lovelock (I-80 Bus. west / SR 856) Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
112.9 181.7 112 Coal Canyon (SR 396 south)
Oreana 120.2 193.4 119 Oreana, Rochester Former SR 858 east
129.6 208.6 129 Rye Patch Dam (SR 401 west)
Humboldt 138.7 223.2 138 Humboldt
Imlay 146.0 235.0 145 Imlay
Mill City 150.3 241.9 149 SR 400 south (Unionville Road) – Mill City, Unionville
152.1 244.8 151 Mill City, Dun Glen No westbound entrance
Cosgrave 158.7 255.4 158 Cosgrave
Humboldt Rose Creek 168.4 271.0 168 Rose Creek
Winnemucca 173.4 279.1 173 West Winnemucca Boulevard (I-80 Bus. east) Serves Winnemucca Municipal Airport
176.7 284.4 176 US 95 north (Veterans Memorial Highway / I-80 Bus.) – Winnemucca Downtown West, McDermitt, Boise East end of US 95 overlap
179.0 288.1 178 SR 289 – Winnemucca Downtown East
180.8 291.0 180 SR 794 west (East Winnemucca Boulevard / I-80 Bus. west)
Button Point 187.7 302.1 187 Button Point
Golconda 194.5 313.0 194 Golconda, Midas (SR 789 north)
200.5 322.7 200 Golconda Summit
204.1 328.5 203 Iron Point
205.6 330.9 205 Pumpernickel Valley
Stone House 212.5 342.0 212 Stone House
Valmy 217.2 349.5 216 Valmy
222.7 358.4 222 Mote
Lander Battle Mountain 230.2 370.5 229 SR 304 east (I-80 Bus. east) – West Battle Mountain
231.7 372.9 231 SR 305 (Broad Street) – Downtown Battle Mountain, Austin
233.6 375.9 233 SR 304 west (I-80 Bus. west) – East Battle Mountain Serves Battle Mountain Airport
Argenta 244.7 393.8 244 Argenta
Eureka Dunphy 254.5 409.6 254 Dunphy
Beowawe 261.4 420.7 261 SR 306 south – Beowawe, Crescent Valley, Austin
269.2 433.2 268 Emigrant Pass
271.6 437.1 271 Palisade
Elko Carlin 280.0 450.6 279 SR 278 south (I-80 Bus. east / to SR 221) – West Carlin, Eureka
281.4 452.9 280 SR 766 – Central Carlin
282.7 455.0 282 SR 221 west (I-80 Bus. west) – East Carlin
Hunter 293.3 472.0 292 Hunter
Elko 299.2 481.5 298 Elko West (I-80 Bus. east / SR 535 east)
301.9 485.9 301 SR 225 (Mountain City Highway) – Elko Downtown
304.4 489.9 303 Elko East (I-80 Bus. west )
Osino 311.5 501.3 310 Osino
Ryndon 315.5 507.7 314 Ryndon, Devils Gate CR 742
317.7 511.3 317 Elburz, Devils Gate CR 745
Halleck 322.2 518.5 321 SR 229 east (Halleck and Secret Pass Road) – Halleck, Ruby Valley
329.0 529.5 328 River Ranch
Deeth 334.5 538.3 333 Deeth, Starr Valley (SR 230 east)
Welcome 344.4 554.3 343 Welcome, Starr Valley (SR 230 west)
Beverly Hills 348.2 560.4 348 Beverly Hills
Wells 351.6 565.8 351 West Wells (I-80 Bus. east / SR 223 east / SR 231 south)
352.5 567.3 352A US 93 – East Wells, Ely, Jackpot West end of US 93 Alt. overlap; signed as exit 352 eastbound
352B East Wells (I-80 Bus. west / 6th Street) Westbound exit only
Moor 360.7 580.5 360 Moor
Independence Valley 365.9 588.9 365 Independence Valley
Pequop Summit 373.8 601.6 373 Pequop Summit
Pequop 376.5 605.9 376 Pequop
Oasis 379.4 610.6 378 SR 233 east (Montello Road) – Oasis, Montello
388.1 624.6 387 Shafter CR 789
399.2 642.5 398 Pilot Peak CR 767
West Wendover 407.2 655.3 407 Ola
410.4 660.5 410
US 93 Alt. south (I-80 Bus. east) – West Wendover, Ely
East end of US 93 Alt. overlap
410.7 661.0 I-80 east – Salt Lake City, Cheyenne Continuation into Utah
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Weingroff, Richard F. "Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956: Creating the Interstate System". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved May 11, 2008. 
  2. ^ State Maintained Highways of Nevada: Description and Maps – Quarterly Changes (April, May, June). Nevada Department of Transportation. July 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "2006 Annual Traffic Report" (PDF). Nevada Department of Transportation. Retrieved May 11, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Nevada Road and Recreation Atlas (Map). 1:250000. Benchmark Maps. 2003. p. 47. ISBN 0-929591-81-X. 
  5. ^ a b "Forty Mile Desert: Nevada Historical Marker 26". Nevada State Historic Preservation Office. 2010. Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  6. ^ Brock, Dick. "Photos and transcription of markers along the Forty Mile Desert, placed by the Oregon/California Trails Association". Trails West Inc. Retrieved May 18, 2014. 
  7. ^ Using distance between Lovelock and Wells
  8. ^ a b c 2015–2016 Official Highway Map (PDF) (Map). Nevada Department of Transportation. 2016. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 
  9. ^ Turner, Dan. "Carlin Canyon, Elko County, Nevada". Elko Rose Garden Association. Retrieved January 26, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Highway Resolution route 91". Utah Department of Transportation. Retrieved March 8, 2008. 
  11. ^ a b c "Historical Maps". Nevada Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 26, 2013. 
  12. ^ "NDOT News Spring 2006" (PDF). Nevada Department of Transportation. 2006. Retrieved January 26, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Bing / Google

KML is from Wikidata


Interstate 80
Previous state:
California
Nevada Next state:
Utah