Why do we need a bypass? Oh, yeah | NevadaAppeal.com

Why do we need a bypass? Oh, yeah

Nevada Appeal editorial board

Did anyone need a reminder why Carson City has been trying to get a bypass built?

There they were on Sunday — a few thousand reminders backed up in traffic, bumper to bumper, waiting for 45 minutes or so to get from one end of town to the other.

All in all, the paving project that widened South Carson Street to six lanes has gone smoothly through the summer. People who work graveyard shifts have seen the construction and regularly dodged orange cones for several weeks, but most motorists have been little inconvenienced.

Now, though, comes the push by Granite Construction to finish the job, and the subsequent weekend traffic jams.

Sure, we’ve been in traffic jams before. And we’ve spent plenty of time waiting in construction zones.

The point is that motorists in Carson City have few choices when it comes to getting from the north end of town to the south end. It is possible to wend your way along neighborhood streets, depending on your points of origin and destination, but it’s more of an art than a science.

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But woe be the driver who has no local knowledge and simply wants to get to South Lake Tahoe or Minden/Gardnerville. If there’s a problem on South Carson Street — an accident, a paving project, a malfunctioning traffic signal — you’re stuck.

On Sunday, as drivers tried to figure out a way around the jam, side streets like Curry, Roop and Silver Sage became part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

More than an inconvenience, when traffic is stopped through Carson there is too great a potential for an emergency crew to be unable to respond in time. At times when seconds count, a jam like Sunday’s could have meant minutes.

A six-lane Carson Street is an improvement, and when the paving is done we’ll be glad to have it. We just didn’t want anybody to think it was a solution.