Study suggests fewer turns, possibly expressway for Highway 50 in Carson City | NevadaAppeal.com

Study suggests fewer turns, possibly expressway for Highway 50 in Carson City

Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal The Carson Area Metropolitan Planning Organization will meet Wednesday to discuss a recent Nevada Department of Transportation study. Anticipated congestion along the Highway 50 East corridor is under review.

The three miles of Highway 50 East in Carson City should have better signs, fewer turns and, possibly, become an expressway, according to a transportation study.

The two-year $558,000 Nevada Department of Transportation study examined the entire stretch of highway running from Carson City to Churchill County.

The agency will talk to the Carson Metropolitan Planning Organization about the results on Wednesday. The organization is responsible for organizing transportation planning in Carson City, northern Douglas County and western Lyon County.

The study, transportation officials said, reflects how residents want to handle the region’s growing traffic and aren’t the department’s own suggestions, officials said.

Also, nothing is definite besides a turn lane for Iron Mountain Ranch Estates in Stagecoach and a traffic signal at the highway’s intersection with State Route 341, leading north to Virginia City.

Specifically for Carson City, controlling turns into businesses is what will probably happen first, said Sandi Stanio, the study’s project manager. Many businesses along the highway, for instance, have undivided entrances and exists that don’t clearly mark where drivers should turn, which Stanio said can be confusing and dangerous.

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The study says one way to fix this is by using medians that direct drivers to the correct places to turn.

Scott Magruder, transportation department spokesman, said limiting turns would be one of the features of an expressway, which would move traffic quickly by clearing up congestion.

The stretch of Highway 395 from Carson City to Reno or from Carson to Gardnerville are examples of expressways, he said.

The Wednesday meeting might not create any “big earth-shattering add-a-lane” decisions, said Patrick Pittenger, the city’s transportation program manager and employee of the metropolitan planning agency, but the transportation department does need the agency’s approval to get any federal funds.

Projects could be expensive, too, with the State Route 341 traffic light expected to cost $1 million alone.

The study also criticized warnings signs for being too close to intersections and suggested themed signs.

Some business owners, however, like the highway how it is.

Jim Tate, the sales manager at Atkins House of Carpet at 4261 Highway 50 East, said once work finishes on the bypass his business will be doing even better but right now doesn’t have a problem with the highway and likes how easy it is for traffic to come into the business.

The state transportation department estimated about 45,000 vehicles make two-way trips along the highway in Carson City each day, rising to possibly close to 100,000 in 2035.

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

If you go

WHAT: Highway 50 Corridor Study meeting with the Carson Area Planning Organization

When: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Sierra Room of the Community Center, 851 E. William St.

CALL: 887-2355

On the Net: http://www.us50corridorstudy.com