State board hears long-range plans for Carson-area highways

The Nevada Department of Transportation on Tuesday laid out long-range plans for both Highway 50 east of Carson City and U.S. 395 south of the capital.

Deputy NDOT Director Kent Cooper told the Transportation Board with the huge growth in both commercial and residential construction from Mound House to the Leetville Junction, the biggest issue is "access management."

"There are a lot of issues as to how we allow access to Highway 50 through there," he said. "We're seeking huge developments that we've previously only seen in urban areas."

He said plans call for widening of the highway from Dayton to Silver Springs to provide four or five lanes and, in this year's works program, installing a signal at the cut-off to Virginia City. He said at peak traffic times, there is now no real break in the flow of vehicles and, often, drivers can't get on or off the highway at that junction.

A signal, he said, will provide breaks in the flow of traffic all through that area.

The study of the route, Cooper said, recommends eventually installing some 30 signals along the 52 mile stretch of road.

The plan also includes improvements to the highway from Carson Street to the Lyon County line.

Long range plans include examining the possibility of building an alternate roadway that would connect Highway 50 in Dayton to Arrowhead Drive in north Carson City.

The most critical part of the U.S. 395 corridor is the area just south of the Carson City border in Douglas County.

The plan there recommends a grade separation at Clear Creek by essentially bridging the highway over Clear Creek Road. Another overpass would be built at Topsy Lane.

Cooper said other needs include extending the length of both acceleration and deceleration lanes at intersections such as Johnson Lane to allow traffic to enter and exit the highway better.

The plan also recommends construction of frontage roads with bike lanes and sidewalks.

Those projects and reconstruction of the freeway itself between Carson and Minden-Gardnerville, will cost an estimated $164 million.

One of the recommendations - a cable barrier through Carson Valley - is already installed to help prevent head-on crashes.

The long range plan includes another 24 projects stretching all the way to the California-Nevada border at Topaz Lake.

One on the list is the possibility of an alternate roadway from the Carson bypass south along the eastern side of the Carson Valley that would connect with U.S. 395 south of Minden-Gardnerville.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.

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