In Carson: Cable barrier added to freeway median

The Nevada Department of Transportation is installing a cable barrier on the Carson freeway just like the barrier being erected in Douglas County.

The purpose of the barrier is to prevent head-on collisions like the one in 2004 that killed Nicole Snyder between Minden and Carson City on Highway 395. She died when a motorist in the opposite lanes lost control and drove into oncoming traffic.

Project Manager Jim Gallegos said the barrier will run for more than three miles from Arrowhead Drive to the junction of Highway 50.

It consists of three 3Ú4-inch diameter steel cables strung between steel posts between 3 to 4 feet high.

According to NDOT spokesman Scott Magruder, the barrier is designed to catch vehicles like a net if they run out of control into the median and prevent them from reaching traffic going the opposite direction.

"It redirects (the car) back into its own lanes where it has a better chance of stopping without a collision," he said.

Magruder said the design is more flexible than concrete barriers - hopefully reducing injury to those in the vehicle by stopping them less abruptly.

Another major benefit, he said, is that cable barriers allow much better drainage in the median area than concrete barriers, which can cause water to pool in the traffic lanes by preventing it from draining away.

The work is part of the $45 million Phase 2A project and will be done mostly during the daytime. Gallegos said there should be minimal delays to traffic.

The Douglas County project began in the fall and is slated for completion before year's end.

It will run a total of nine miles from south of Jacks Valley Road to just north of Muller Lane and cost $1.6 million. The freeway barrier should be completed to Highway 50 in a couple of months.

Magruder said the cable system is much lower in cost than building a wall. He said the cable barrier system is now part of NDOT's strategic highway safety plan, especially for areas where there is a history of head-on collisions such as Highway 395 south of Carson City.

Magruder said cable barriers will be included in the next phase of the bypass as well.


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