Light for Bridget set for activation

The new traffic light at Stephanie Way and Highway 395 will be activated at 5 a.m. Thursday ending a year-and-a-half journey since the day Bridget Noel Chambers, 17, died in a car accident at the intersection.

Nevada Department of Transportation officials urged motorists to use caution as everyone adjusts to the new signal.

"We aren't anticipating any problems," NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder said. "We're just asking that everyone be attentive. It shouldn't cause any delays, we just want people to be aware.

Work began on the light just after Thanksgiving and will come in at a cost of $272,000 with about $140,000 coming from Douglas County. Much of the county's portion came from developer fees generated from projects and the balance from the county's capital reserves.

NDOT anticipated work on the project to be completed in February, but contractor PAR Electric out of Reno was able to finish before that.

"There were no major problems," Magruder said. "The work went very well."

The traffic light was brought about after Chambers, a student at Douglas High School, was killed when Johnson Lane resident Forest Ladd pulled out in front of her while making a left in a July 15, 2005 accident.

"It's an event that is still painful to our family but it's a reward to see that we were able to change the direction of the state government," Bob Chambers, Bridget's grandfather said. "The people at NDOT told us it was impossible. They said there was no way they'd ever put a signal there but someone actually stepped forward and said we should do something about this.

The accident sparked an outcry and a petition drive by family members who gathered signatures to put pressure on the state to install a traffic signal.

"The way the community came forward and supported this was amazing," Chambers said. "As a family we feel good that we were at least able to make it safer for others, we're only sorry that it took as long as it did because another person lost their life in a similar accident."

James David Price, 64, of Saratoga Springs, was killed in late December while work was being done on the light after he pulled out on Highway 395 from Stephanie Way and was struck by a north-bound vehicle.

More than 6,000 signatures were eventually gathered in favor of a light at the intersection.

"Once in a while there was someone who said they didn't want another stop on that corridor, but for the most part, especially in the Johnson Lane area, people were really for this," Chambers said. "I have had people cut right in front of me at that intersection and it is to the point where I can't go through there without my foot close on the brake.

"I think a lot of people are looking forward to seeing the light there. It will cause some delays, but considering any loss of life, the delay is worth it."

The light is similar to the one currently in operation just about a mile south at Johnson Lane and Highway 395.

"The residents of Stephanie Way and that area will be able to pull in and out of that intersection with little trouble now, which will be a relief for them," Magruder said. "It's good news for the residents there."

It will stop northbound traffic so that motorists may safely turn left onto Stephanie, but will not stop southbound traffic.

"For the southbound motorists, we're asking that you be courteous if you're in the southbound fast lane," Magruder said. "If you drive it every day, you may just become used to the light at Johnson Lane, so we just want to make sure people know there will be another stop now."

Magruder said there will be several signs along the road warning motorists of the Thursday activation starting today.

Chambers said he may drive the stretch of highway Thursday to see the light.

"In a lot of ways this is a close to a chapter for us," Chambers said. "This whole process was a learn-as-you-go type of thing. It would be nice to see a state organization that is in charge of making the roads safe be more proactive in these types of things."

Chambers said NDOT will be conducting several meeting over the next several weeks to outline its plans for work on the corridor, including working on the center "cable" between the lanes beginning this summer.


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