Roadwork along Highway 50 from Stateline to Cave Rock will take a break for the holiday weekend.
The mess that is Highway 50 caught many by surprise, including Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Magruder, who fielded several phone calls Tuesday and Wednesday from angry motorists demanding an explanation as to why traffic was choked between Cave Rock and Stateline.
"The phone began lighting up," he said. "There was obviously some concern about the delays and I got a lot of calls."
While it was on the books, NDOT officials overlooked informing motorists of a road repaving project between Nevada Beach and Stateline that ended last fall and was resumed this week.
The concentration on that project, a $2 million road repaving operation done by Minden-based Carlson Construction, and the ongoing work at Cave Rock led to long traffic delays. Some motorists reported more than an hour wait.
Apparently for one man, the wait was too much.
About 12:15 p.m. Douglas County dispatch received a call from a motorist, possibly under the influence. It turned out that the man was impatient with the road delay, weaving and bobbing out of traffic and hitting his brakes, said Douglas County Sheriff's Sgt. Tom Mezzetta.
The motorist wasn't under the influence but rather upset by the flow of traffic, Mezzetta said. He was issued a warning.
Zephyr Cove resident Sue Jones said it took her more than an hour to get from Bourne's Meadow on Highway 50 to the intersection of Highway 207 at Kingsbury Grade.
"It was appalling. I'm sure it is to the zillions of others who have to drive it. Nevada Department of Transportation said it was a 30-minute wait. It was more like an hour and 30 minutes."
The problem is three-fold, Magruder explained. First the $2.3 million Cave Rock project is under way, where traffic is diverted through one tunnel.
That project was on the books and motorists were warned of delays ahead of time. The Stateline road work, on which motorists were not given a timely heads-up, caused the traffic to slow even more.
"Plus you now have people gearing up for the holiday," exacerbating the traffic flow, he said. Also, both construction crews were delayed because of the late arrival of spring weather when conditions were good enough to work.
Beginning Thursday, both lanes at Cave Rock were opened for traffic flow in both directions and instead of work being done during the day, the construction operation will switch to nighttime.
The Nevada Beach to Stateline project will resume Wednesday, with traffic delays expected to be about a half hour. Both projects are scheduled for completion by June 24.