Drivers on some of Nevada's highways who might get a little tired or distracted will get a little help staying in their lane.
The Nevada Department of Transportation plans to install centerline rumble strips on 1,300 miles of state highways, including parts of Highway 341 from Virginia City to Reno and from Mound House to Silver City and Highway 342 from Silver City to Gold Hill.
In Lyon County, 26 miles of 208 will get strips, along with 15 miles of Highway 95A.
Douglas county will get seven miles of strips along State Route 207, and Churchill County will get 84 miles of rumble strips on Highway 50.
NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder said the cost would be $500 per mile for 1,300 miles, or $650,000.
"This is an inexpensive but effective way to prevent head-on collisions," he said. "We've all drifted in one way or another, and it can save a life."
Magruder said the rumble strips would alert motorists who might be talking on a cell phone, changing a CD or just getting sleepy that they were drifting.
"Nowadays motorists seem to have more distractions," he said.
Magruder said the strips will be installed in rural areas all over the state, especially on two-lane roads, beginning in September and continuing to May of 2009. Traffic will be limited to one lane in work areas during the project.
The contract went to MKD Construction for the 12-inch rumble strips.
Storey County manager Pat Whitten said the rumble strips are something the county has requested for the past four years.
"Each year we get to submit projects, and sometimes they're done and sometimes they're not," he said. "We have supported intensely the (Highway) 50 and (SR) 341 stoplight, though it is a Lyon County submittal, and the rumble strips for the past three our four years."
He believed the work would start just after the Highway 50-State Route 341 intersection and continue up the mountain, stopping short of Gold Hill, and beginning again two turns north of Virginia City and continuing on to Washoe County near the bottom of Geiger Grade.
Whitten said Virginia City Highlands resident Cynthia Kennedy had long pushed for the strips, with the support of the county government.
"I think this is a classic example of state government listening to the concerns and needs of local government and our citizens and then taking action to remedy the problem," he said. "These new rumble strips have been proven to substantially improve traffic safety and reduce highway fatalities. We certainly owe NDOT Director Martinovich and her team our vote of thanks for implementing this safety enhancement during tight budget times."
Another change is coming for Gold Hill. According to Magruder, the speed limit will be increased from 35 miles per hour to 45 mph, from an area south of the Gold Hill Hotel to Silver City.
The limit is 25 mph along the residential areas of Gold Hill and Silver City.
"It's just waiting for the director's signature," he said. "We do like to go out and do frequent reviews if a request comes in."
- Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-7351.