The Nevada Department of Transportation began work Monday to install a new temporary traffic signal at the intersection of U.S. Highway 50 and Sheckler Cutoff, 6 miles west of Fallon, the scene of many crashes during the past decade.
Through Wednesday, NDOT said in a press release single lane closures and traffic switches will be in place at the intersection for installation of the temporary traffic signals. Speed limit reductions and minor travel delays should be anticipated through the work zone.
Spokesperson Meg Ragonese said the new temporary traffic signal will provide more designated turns to the highway. No four-way stop signs or signals are on U.S. 50 at the intersection, but stop signs are located on both side roads, one at Sheckler and the other at Roberson Road.
Ragonese said the delay to the summer for permanent lights is due to the special construction.
“Many traffic signal components such as poles and mast arms are custom-manufactured to fit the specific intersection where they will be installed,” she said. “Many of these custom-fabricated components have a production and manufacturing lead time of six months or more.”
Churchill County commissioners had made the intersection their top priority because of the number of accidents. The call for some type of traffic device at the intersection came after an October crash that killed a Fallon man and injured another motorist.
“We are grateful to NDOT for accelerating its process for installing both the temporary and the permanent signals at the Sheckler and Highway 50 intersection,” said Jim Barbee, Churchill County manager, said in December when the first announcement was released.
Churchill County commissioners have considered the Sheckler Cutoff-U.S. Highway 50 intersection as their No. 1 priority for safety improvements.
Ragonese said existing highway through lanes and turn lanes will remain at the intersection, but new pavement markings will be in place to help direct motorists to stop as needed for the signal. Temporary electronic highway signs and radar speed feedback signs will be placed in advance of the signal advising motorists to prepare to stop ahead.
“With the new traffic signal in place, motorists are reminded to drive safely and attentively, following all traffic signage,” she said. “Drivers should be prepared to stop at the new signal and leave extra time to travel through the intersection.”
Early in 2019, NDOT announced a permanent traffic signal was planned for installation. Ragonese confirmed in December the project should be completed this summer.
The Nevada Department of Transportation statistics for 2015-2017, revealed the intersection has had 13 crashes, one of which was fatal in 2015. Two other fatal crashes have occurred at the intersection, one each in 2007 and 2010.
During the past decade, according to NDOT records, the intersection has been the site of 38 crashes and 15 injuries.