NDOT plans horse fencing for Highway 50 | NevadaAppeal.com

NDOT plans horse fencing for Highway 50

To avoid a hitting a wild horse, trucks come to a quick stop on Flint Road in east Carson City.

The Nevada Department of Transportation is planning a major fencing project along U.S. 50 through the Stagecoach and Silver Springs corridor.

"Multiple collisions involving wild or feral horses have occurred on U.S. 50," said Director Rudy Malfabon.

He said a contract will be issued this year to install fences designed to keep the horses off the highway along that portion of U.S. 50. At the same time, NDOT crews are evaluating the need for future fencing enhancements in the Mound House and Dayton area.

Exactly how much fencing and where to place it, he said, is still being worked out. The idea is to strategically place the fences where they will do the most good.

Malfabon said there is already some fencing from USA Parkway toward Fernley. There is also an underpass on the parkway as well as one on U.S. 50 designed to let the horses and other animals cross without getting hit by vehicles. He showed the transportation board photos of horses using those underpasses.

Some fencing has already been installed along the roadway but Malfabon said there are still far too many places where the horses can get through and onto the roadway.

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He said there are also problems with fences and gate locks being cut by off-roaders and others who want to get into the Virginia Range. He said staff is documenting gaps in existing fencing, uncontrolled areas where horses can get onto the roadways.

Malfabon said the Dayton corridor isn't the only problem area involving horses. He said between 2006 and 2015, there were 350 horse/vehicle crashes in Nevada. While the largest concentration of crashes is along this stretch of U.S. 50, he said State Route 93 south of Ely, he said, also has a large number of horse/vehicle crashes as does State Route 6 in Nye County. And Nevada isn't alone, he told the Transportation Board. He said NDOT and seven other states along with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation are jointly studying the effectiveness of wildlife crossings — over and underpasses — in reducing the number of collisions. He said that study will also deal with other wild animals including elk and deer that too often get onto roads and highways.

He said the fencing contract will be awarded in the fall once details NDOT determines where they will be most effective and once a roadway widening project through that same area is under way. Malfabon pointed out it would make no sense to install fencing now only to tear it down later this year to accommodate the widening project.