Kurt Hildebrand

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February 6, 2013
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Airport Road signal comes to light

The state is studying the intersection at Airport Road and Highway 395 to determine if it qualifies for a traffic light.

The intersection has been the location of several accidents, including a fatal accident in July 2011.

Since then at least four accidents with serious injuries occurred at the intersection.

"The primary issue at this intersection is sight distance," Douglas County Senior Civil Engineer Jeff Foltz said in a Jan. 23 report. "Drivers waiting to make the left turn from Airport Road onto U.S. 395 southbound have their view of oncoming traffic blocked by vehicles in the northbound right-turn lane at Airport Road. The result is that vehicles turning left onto the highway are hit broadside by the northbound traffic in the through lanes."

This effect was documented by the Nevada Highway Patrol and The Record-Courier in 2011 when numerous fatal accidents were attributed to vehicles turning right blocking drivers' view of oncoming traffic.

Airport Road has been the scene of three injury accidents fitting the profile in November, December and January.

County employees on official business are prohibited from making a left turn onto Highway 395 from Airport Road. Douglas County School District buses take Heybourne Road north to Johnson Lane to make a left turn at the light.

Foltz said county staff met with state transportation officials to review possible solutions.

One proposal, relocating the northbound right-turn lane 12 feet east of its present location, would require additional right of way and would require two years to complete.

Foltz said state engineers said that would only reduce 14 percent of the accidents.

Installing a traffic signal would reduce the number of accidents by 44 percent.

Foltz said the state is evaluating the traffic signal warrants at the location before making a decision to install a traffic signal.

" Nevertheless, they do recognize the severity of the situation and I believe they will work with the county to make some improvement there, hopefully in 2013," Foltz said in an e-mail to The Record-Courier.

Foltz is expected to make a presentation to Douglas County commissioners on Thursday.

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The Record Courier Updated Feb 7, 2013 01:04PM Published Feb 6, 2013 10:46AM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.