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Big-animal reflectors endorsed

Kurt Hildebrand

DAYTON – Proponents of a method of discouraging large mammals from wandering into traffic on Highway 50 are urging the state to expand its use before a three-year test has been completed.

Mark Twain resident Julie Keller received the endorsement of Lyon County commissioners last week to expand the use of the Stricter Lite Wild Animal Reflectors on a stretch of Highway 50 for a three-year test.

The reflectors have been up since March 2001. Keller told commissioners that so far no horses or deer have been killed on that part of the highway.

The red triangular reflectors take the headlight beams from passing vehicles and produce a light pattern deflecting deer and horses from the highway until after the vehicle has passed.

Keller cited a preliminary report from the Nevada Department of Transportation on the test that indicates the reflectors appear to be working.

She told commissioners it costs $20,000 to place the reflectors along a three-mile segment of the highway, and that Nevada may be eligible for a 95 percent reimbursement from the federal government for hazard elimination.

“Other than fences, this is the only low-cost system of keeping animals off the highway, and deer can jump fences,” she said.

Keller said the only maintenance for the reflectors is that they have to be cleaned, which can be done by prisoners as they clean up the road verge.

Lyon commissioners will send a letter to the state urging that the reflectors be put along state highways in the county.