Final phase of 50A widening begins Friday

FALLON - The Nevada Highway Patrol urges commuters who use Highway 50A to allow extra time beginning Friday as the final phase of widening the route begins.

Sgt. Tom Ames, of the Fallon NHP office, said work will begin in Hazen on Friday, and speed restrictions will be in place. He said there will be an increased number of trucks hauling dirt needed to build a bridge over the highway at the Hazen railroad tracks.

"We're asking drivers to be patient and allow more time for the construction, and be alert for dirt trucks," Ames said. "Please respect the flaggers and workers out there."

The NHP will enforce lower speed limits in construction zones, where typically the fines are doubled for violations.

"They will work toward Fallon and back toward Fernley," Ames said.

This phase of the construction will complete the widening to Leeteville Junction, making the entire stretch between Fallon and Fernley a four-lane highway with turn lanes.

The massive project began in December 2005 in response to a series of deadly crashes on the highway and the increasing number of vehicles using the road.

The first phase improved the section from Fernley to the Churchill County line. Work in Fernley included a roundabout and construction of a bridge over railroad tracks on 95A, just north of the roundabout.

The bid for the final phase of the project was awarded to Road and Highway Builders, LLC in December for $30 million.

The final leg of the highway improvements could be done as early as June, Ames said.

A series of fatal crashes on Highway 50A between Fallon and Fernley prompted a petition drive in 2000 to speed up widening of the road. More than a dozen people have died there since 1995.

Six years ago, a duststorm near the Fernley Golf Course caused a 16-vehicle pile-up that sent 14 people to area hospitals.

The state made daytime headlights mandatory that same year to address concerns about unsafe passing that led to several fatal head-on collisions.

• Contact reporter Marlene Garcia at mgarcia@lahontanvalleynews.com.

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