NDOT plans workshops to discuss traffic in Douglas

GARDNERVILLE - A series of workshops on traffic control in Douglas County, including a traffic signal at Stephanie Way and a proposed roundabout on Highway 88, will be scheduled by Nevada Department of Transportation officials in October, according to department spokesman Scott Magruder.

"People in Douglas County want a light at Stephanie Way, so we're analyzing the data for that intersection," he said. "Let us come back with that data, to help us decide what we should do."

The meetings will include officials from the Nevada Highway Patrol, Douglas County and local law enforcement. Times and locations of the workshops have not been set, Magruder said.

"I want to emphasize that we are painfully aware of this sensitive issue," Magruder said.

"We understand, and we want to make Highway 395 as safe as possible."

A number of criteria, including the amount and types of crashes, traffic conditions at peak hours and the number of left turns, all come into play when making the decision to install a traffic signal, he said.

"When I say crashes I don't mean fatalities," he said. "We have to determine whether a traffic light will solve the problems or create another set of problems."

To qualify for federal funding the signal must meet guidelines known as warrants, the criteria set by the federal government.

"We don't want a signal if the warrants aren't met because we could create a hazard, like rear-end accidents," Magruder said. "We could be held liable if the traffic light is installed, and it doesn't meet the warrants."

In addition to providing traffic control, the light at the intersection of Johnson Lane and Highway 395 has meant gaps in the traffic, making it easier to enter and exit at Stephanie, Magruder said.

"But Douglas County is growing, as are the traffic counts," he said.

At a meeting of the Good Government Group of Douglas County, residents complained that signals are installed for big-box stores, like Wal-Mart, before construction is complete, yet problems at intersections like Stephanie Way must undergo time-consuming scrutiny.

"When a developer comes in, we do a model, and we know they will create a certain amount of traffic," Magruder said.

"Installing a traffic signal is a requirement of approval. Developers pay for it, and one of the primary factors is the benefit to the motorist."

n Contact reporter Susie Vasquez at svasquez@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.


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