Traffic signal sought for Highway 50 at Red Rock |

Traffic signal sought for Highway 50 at Red Rock

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

Since early spring, Jeannette Wright has been pushing for a traffic signal at Highway 50 and Red Rock Road in Mound House.

She has brought up the subject at Mound House Advisory Council meetings, contacted the Nevada Department of Transportation, Lyon County Sheriff Allen Veil, the Nevada Highway Patrol, the governor’s office, Assemblyman Tom Grady, Congressman Dean Heller and anyone else who would listen.

“The biggest thing is, we’ve had a lot of accidents,” she said. “I think we’ve had four or five within the last four or five months.”

She praises the highway patrol’s stepped-up activity along the highway, but said more needs to be done.

“There’s so many different things that NDOT wants to suggest, but a lot of it doesn’t make any sense,” she said. “They want to make Highway 50 an expressway, because there is more federal funding for expressways.”

Wright said that Mound House is a community divided by the highway, and the only way to get from one section to the other is to cross the highway, which is dangerous because of the increased traffic.

She has begun a petition drive for a traffic signal at the intersection, gathering 120 signatures so far.

“About every parent that has a kid in that day care has signed the petition,” she said.

The Highway 50 Corridor Study shows Newman Lane as a potential traffic control device site, because of the possibility of future development, but Wright said it will be a long time before developments are built, and Red Rock needs help sooner.

Scott Magruder, NDOT spokesman, said a warrant study requested by Wright showed the Red Rock/Highway 50 intersection did not meet enough of the warrants to have a traffic signal installed.

Wright feels the intersection of Red Rock, Highway 50 and Highland Road should qualify.

“As far as traffic accidents we qualify on the warrants,” she said. “There needs to be some help somewhere.”

Kent Cooper, NDOT assistant director of planning, said the only areas a traffic control device – not necessarily a signal, possibly a high-T or roundabout – recommended by the Highway 50 Corridor Study were at highways 50 and 341. Newman Lane was also recommended, probably because of planned development.

“You don’t want it at that curve,” he said. “They’ll go in where they’re appropriate so people can still use Highway 50 as an arterial road.”

Cooper said three years ago Lyon County officials obtained a study from an engineering firm that suggested 239 signals on Highway 50 from Carson City to Silver Springs.

“If we put that many out there it would take three hours to get to Carson City from Silver Springs,” he said.

Cooper said if a traffic control device is deemed necessary, the cost will be borne by the county, and Lyon County is facing budget difficulties right now. He said traffic signals cost between $500,000 and $1 million.

Another issue is liability, Cooper said. “If the warrants are not met and an incident happens, the state assumes liability,” he said. “That’s why they set up those standards.”

Lyon County Commissioner Bob Milz said he sympathizes with Wright, but added the decision to install a signal belongs to NDOT, not the county.

Milz said Wright has gone about her efforts the wrong way.

“You can be an activist and try to do the right thing and I think we need that, but they need to not start with the governor and not start with our assembly people,” he said. “If she had contacted me initially, maybe I could have helped her.”

Milz said if and when a Mound House intersection meets warrants for a traffic signal, he would try to get developers to foot the bill.

Marilyn Roanhaus, who lives in the mobile home park south of the highway, just wants to see something done.

“I’ve had two near-misses,” she said. “I’ve been stacked up four cars in front of me. People will not slow down coming from Carson or Dayton.”

She said if NDOT won’t put a traffic signal there, they should do something else to slow traffic down because she said it is dangerous trying to get on Highway 50 from Highland Road.

“You take your life in your hands pulling out because you also have cars coming off of Red Rock trying to make left turns on Highway 50,” she said. “You have all the traffic on Highway 50. You have all this convergence in one area.”

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 882-2111 ext. 351.

Traffic Control

These are intersections along Highway 50 that are being considered for traffic control, which could be anything from dedicated turn lanes to roundabouts to traffic signals.

Carson City

• Nye Lane

Mound House

• Newman Lane

• State Route 341 to Virginia City


• Pinecone Road

• Smith’s Shopping Center

• Fortune Drive

• Segale Road

• Graves Drive

• Cardelli Road/Riverboat Road

• Six Mile Canyon Road/Ft. Churchill Road

• Mark Twain Avenue

• Pinenut Road

• Chaves Road


• Boyer Lane

Silver Springs

• Highway 50 and Highway 95A

Reasons for needing a traffic signal or control device

NDOT considers the following items before an intersection will be listed as needing a a traffic signal or other control device.

• 8-hour vehicle volume warrant – 150 cars per hour for eight hours on the side street intersecting with the highway.

• 4-hour vehicle volume warrant – 100 cars an hour for four hours on the side street intersecting with the highway.

• Peak-hour warrant – 100 cars at peak hour on the side street and 1,300 cars at peak hour on the highway or 400 cars at peak hours on the side street and 500 cars at peak hour on the highway.

• Pedestrian warrant – 190 pedestrian crossings in one hour or 60 instances of more than one-minute wait to cross the highway in one hour.

• School crossing warrant – an intersection where school children cross the highway.

• Coordinating signal system – Where a signal exists and needs to be expanded.

• Crash experience warrant – Where five or more crashes that could be corrected by a signal occur in a 12-month period.

Source: Kelly Anrig, NDOT chief safety engineer