Agencies report to commission | RecordCourier.com

Agencies report to commission

Michael Schneider

Representatives from two state agencies appeared before the Douglas County Board of Commissioners Thursday to update the county on various operations and projects planned.

Richard Nelson, district engineer for the Nevada Department of Transportation, and Bill Souza, rural area commander for the Nevada Highway Patrol both gave the commission updates on their agency’s work in the county and answered commissioners’ comments and questions.

Nelson discussed the proposed intersection improvements to Johnson Lane and Stephanie Way, telling the commissioners that the improvements are imminent.

“Johnson Lane and Stephanie Way could get built this construction season,” said Nelson.

Commissioner Bernie Curtis took this opportunity to ride Nelson about the possibility of NDOT raising the speed limit on Highway 395 from Riverview to Holbrook, a proposal which Curtis has spoken out against.

“People will tend to travel a speed they feel is safe, regardless of speed limit,” said Nelson, discussing the 85 percent of drivers who travel at safe speeds.

“If we raise the speed limit, we can weed out that 15 percent that are breaking safe speeds,” said Nelson. In support of the proposed raise in speed limit as well as his claim that people drive what speed they feel is safe, Nelson told the commissioners about Highway 395 in the Washoe Valley.

He said that when the speed limit was 55 mph along Washoe Lake, the average speed of travelers was 68 mph.

“After the change to a 70-mph speed limit, the average speed was still 68 mph,” said Nelson.

Curtis said he hoped NDOT would listen to him and his constituents and keep the speed limit where it is currently.

“If not, perhaps a compromise could be raising the speed limit after Jake’s Hill,” said Curtis.

Nelson said the big impending project in Douglas County will be improvements to Highway 395 between 10th Street and Mono.

“I know everybody’s fed up with the condition of the road through town,” said Nelson. “It should start any day.”

n Souza began his presentation by showing support for the NHP’s newest district, the Minden-Gardnerville district office. It opened Oct. 1, 1996 in the DMV building on County Road in Minden due to the county’s pleas for help from the NHP in patrolling the highways and state routes in the area.

Souza said the office, which employs one sergeant and six state troopers, had written 2,500 tickets from its inception to the end of 1996.

He said the NHP has put officers on state routes 208 and 330 whose sole purpose is to write tickets.

“They have written another 500 tickets,” said Souza.

Souza said this increase in law enforcement has apparently, if not lessened the number of accidents in the county, lessened the number of serious accidents.

“We’re handling more problem accidents than injury accidents,” said Souza.

Souza talked about the recent flooding the county experienced, talking about how, in the confusion of the incident, troopers wound up policing county roads and Douglas County sheriff’s officers occasionally wound up on state routes.

“That’s just the way it worked and it worked fine,” said Souza of the situation.

He then introduced the commissioners to Sgt. Mike Simon who heads the NHP office in Minden and told them he looked forward to working with the county in the future.

“I hope our presence has taken some of the burden off the DCSO,” said Souza.