NDOT to reinstall reflectors along Highway 50 in Dayton | NevadaAppeal.com

NDOT to reinstall reflectors along Highway 50 in Dayton

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer
Willis Lamm/For the Nevada Appeal Volunteers help wild horses cross Highway 50 near Turf Farm Road in Stagecoach late last month. The Nevada Department of Transportation will be reinstalling Strieter-Lites along the highway to frighten horses away from the roadway when the road-widening project finishes up in mid-September.

After a concerted effort by advocates for area wild horses, the Nevada Department of Transportation will be reinstalling Strieter-Lites along Highway 50 through Dayton, once the highway widening project is completed.

Strieter-Lites are reflectors that create a flash when car headlights shine on them and frighten horses away from the roadway, said Scott Magruder, NDOT spokesman. He said they only work at night and do not flash into the eyes of oncoming traffic, only off to the side. They are made by Strieter-Lites Wild Animal Highway Warning Reflector System of Rock Island, Ill.

The road widening project on Highway 50 is expected to be completed in mid-September, he said.

Magruder confirmed that supporters of free-roaming or estray horses were part of the reason the reflectors will be returned to Highway 50.

“We decided to put them back, and not only that, we’re increasing the number by about 30 percent,” he said. “What it came down to is there was a lot of support to have them there. We already own them, so it’s an inexpensive way to cut down on horse hits.”

One of those supporting the Strieter-Lites was Willis Lamm, president of Least Resistance Training Concepts Inc.

“Every mile of highway that has the reflector system is good, not just for horses, but we have mule deer around here,” Lamm said. “In the daytime, the horses are pretty savvy; they’ll sit there and wait for a break in the traffic, but at night, you can imagine what can happen.”

Lamm said horses don’t have depth perception and at night, they can’t tell where the light is coming from. So when they see light, the animals tend to freeze.

“To them it’s just something getting brighter; they don’t realize it’s coming at them,” he said.

Magruder didn’t have any statistics on the number of horse-vehicle collisions, but added that the continuing construction probably kept horses away.

The reflectors will be installed from an area just west of Dayton, at the bottom of the hill, to the end of the Mark Twain area, Magruder said.

“It’s very close to the location they were in before,” he said.

About 600 Strieter-Lites were removed last fall when the Highway 50 road widening project began. At the time, NDOT senior safety engineer Kelly Anrig said they would be tested on Interstate 80, where a large number of deer-vehicle collisions had occurred.

Magruder said the Elko area is still being considered for the Lites because of the deer activity along the highway.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.