Dayton residents and businesses say they hope a planned widening of U.S. Highway 50 will help lower the number of accidents and ease traffic in the area.
"It's long overdue," said Tom Atchison, manager of Dayton Valley Ranch Supply Store, which is located along Highway 50. "They should have done it 10 years ago, but it's good they're finally getting around to it."
Evergreen Studio owner Steven Saylor of Dayton has seen his share of wrecks along the highway. "In the long term, it will make things safer," he said.
Dayton resident John Sprague, a long-haul trucker, isn't sure whether the two-lane highway or bad drivers are to blame for the accidents. "The amount of traffic coming in and out of Carson City is ridiculous," he said. "When there's an accident, they reroute traffic along a dirt road parallel to the highway."
The Nevada Department of Transportation plans to widen a six-mile stretch of Highway 50 in Dayton between Fortune Drive and Chaves Road, from three to five lanes including a left-hand-turn center lane.
That portion of Highway 50 saw 14 road accidents take place in a year's span in 2003, according to NDOT.
In addition, NDOT will repave a five-and-a-half-mile section of Highway 50 between Virginia City Road and Fortune Drive. A half-mile portion of Dayton Valley Road, east of Highway 50, will also be repaved and receive a left-hand-turn lane.
The total cost of the project is expected to run $15 million, $14 million of which will be funded through the National Highway Fund, a federal agency. NDOT funds will cover the remainder.
The repaving project is scheduled to start in mid-July, while NDOT expects the highway widening to begin in early 2006.
During construction, NDOT will close one lane at a time. "There will be no highway closures," said NDOT Project Manager Chris Peterson.
NDOT will put out bids for the project on April 15, which will be advertised as a single contract. Petersen said the public has responded positively to the project.
No finish date has been set for the project. Petersen said it would depend on weather conditions.
n Contact reporter Dan Moreau at firstname.lastname@example.org or 887-2430 ext. 351.
Highway 50 east projects
• April 15 - bids for project go out
• Mid-July - NDOT starts repaving five-and-a-half-mile section of Highway 50 between Virginia City
• Early 2006 - lane widening begins six-mile stretch of Highway 50 in Dayton between Fortune Drive and Chaves Road