Which detour do I take?

Not much exists in Gabbs, a small town located in the Nevada desert.

Not much exists in Gabbs, a small town located in the Nevada desert.

Heading south on U.S. Highway 95 out of Fallon may present some interesting challenges since the Nevada Department of Transportation closed the main north-south artery to Las Vegas last week for the installation of culverts.

Naturally, motorists will feel the inconvenience until Friday in trying to find a secondary route, either heading south or north out of Fallon.

So, let’s look at two options although there may be others like traversing the dirt roads over the hills and through the valleys. NDOT is promoting the use of U.S. 95 Alternate through Yerington as the primary detour. Motorists are encouraged to leave Fallon by heading west to Silver Springs and then south to Yerington for 33 miles. Once in Yerington, the detour takes motorists to Schurz, about a half-hour drive away and then back on U.S. 95 toward Hawthorne for another 30-plus miles.

Essentially, this detour adds about an hour to the normal Fallon to Hawthorne direct route.

For those motorists interested in seeing some of the state’s most desolate scenery that may remind them of photos from Southwest Asia, they have the option of heading east out of Fallon for 47 miles on U.S. Highway 50 toward Austin. From the intersection at Middlegate Station, head south 63 miles to Luning, which is south of Hawthorne on U.S. 95.

This is a state-maintained highway with signs warning motorists of cattle on the highway. Travelers will also bypass Gabbs, a company town built in the 1940s by the nearby mines. Today, this small town alongside the highway has fewer than 300 residents according to the 2010 census. Navy pilots from Fallon are familiar with the terrain since it resembles many of the mountains and desert floors of central Afghanistan.

Meg Ragonese, NDOT’s public information officer, said the detour through Yerington provides a better highway for larger trucks, and the number of stops that have services such as gasoline stations, restrooms, eating establishments ... and so on ... may give some travelers a better peace of mind.

If motorists want to save time, then the 110-mile Fallon-Middlegate-Luning route will take under two hours. The Yerington route covers 137 miles and takes more than two hours of travel considering motorists need to slow down for five areas unless they want to have a chat with with a deputy or Nevada Highway Patrol trooper: Silver Springs, Yerington, Schurz, Walker and Hawthorne.

The normal Fallon to Luning route on U.S. 95 is 96 miles or under 90 minutes of driving time.

If the culverts cannot handle a massive runoff later this spring, Ragonese said U.S. 95 could close again but for a period longer than nine days. Then, Road Race Part II will be implemented for motorists to navigate their way to Las Vegas or vice-versa as motorists navigate U.S. 95 toward Fallon. Either way, it will take some planning and decisions: Do I pick Gabbs or Yeringon as my detour?


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