The Nevada Department of Transportation has installed a new, electronic wind warning system to advise drivers of tractor-trailer trucks and other large, tall vehicles when it’s not safe to drive through Washoe Valley.
A spokesman said drivers will see those flashing roadside signs in operation Tuesday morning. During the Tuesday tests, the spokesman said trucks will still be allowed to use I-580 through the middle of the valley.
“We are simply testing to ensure these new warning signs work as they should during an actual wind event,” said Engineering Services Manager Janelle Thomas. “Large overhead freeway signs will be in place notifying drivers that they can still travel through Washoe Valley during the tests.”
Winds are a frequent problem for trucks in Washoe Valley. Winds too frequently cause trucks to lose control and overturn in the valley. The restrictions during wind events also apply to large recreational vehicles as well as any other vehicles that are nine feet or taller.
There have been wind events so powerful through the valley even a truck or two parked alongside the road has been simply blown over.
The new system will continually monitor wind speeds through the valley. It will automatically activate when wind speeds from roadside monitors detect wind speeds of more than 50 mph between the north end of the valley and Lakeview Hill at the south end. It will also activate when winds surpass 40 mph on I-580 between the Mt. Rose Highway junction and the north end of the valley.
In addition, high profile vehicles will also be prohibited and travel speeds reduced during winds of more than 40 mph on Alternate 395 through the Franktown area on the west wide of the valley.
The wind warning system will be fully automatic, using a series of sensors installed in the valley. A total of 34 near roadway signs have been installed to notify drivers..
Finally, drivers who aren’t behind the wheel can dial 511 or log onto www.nvroads.com for updates.
“We’re here to keep drivers safe and connected on the road,” said District Engineer Thor Dyson.