- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada transportation officials are expediting plans to connect Interstate 80 east of Reno to U.S. Highway 50 with the USA Parkway that was part of the deal that landed Tesla’s $5 billion battery plant for the area.

The Department of Transportation’s board of directors approved $43 million for the right-of-way, easements and existing road improvements needed to complete the 18-mile stretch of highway.

They also endorsed a fast-track approach on Monday to consolidate the design and construction under one contract to be let for bid next year.

The highway project itself is expected to cost $70 million and be completed in 2017.

Six miles of privately built roadway already exists running south from I-80 about 10 miles east of Sparks where Tesla plans its “gigafactory’” at Tahoe Reno Industrial Center.

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