Improvements planned for Minden intersection |

Improvements planned for Minden intersection

by Christy Chalmers

One of Minden’s awkward intersections is almost ready for a redesign.

Private and public officials have been quietly assembling the agreements needed to revamp the intersection of County Road and Highway 395. The work would eliminate chaotic turn movements for motorists on both roads by creating a T-shaped intersection instead of the Y shape that now exists.

County Road blends into Highway 395 at the line between Minden and Gardnerville. Gardnerville’s Church Street faces Highway 395 a few yards south of County Road, making turns on or off the routes difficult, especially in heavy traffic.

Bruce Scott, an engineer for the town of Minden, said a proposal now being developed would redirect County Road across the old Copeland Lumber yard, the wedge of land bordered by County Road and the highway. County Road would then terminate at a right angle to the highway, allowing safer left turns and decreasing the conflicts with Church Street traffic.

Scott said Mike Gilbert, the owner of the old Copeland property, is agreeable to the plan. Instead of buying the land needed for the new route, Minden is proposing to trade part of the existing County Road easement to Gilbert. Gilbert did not return a phone call seeking comment on the idea.

“It’s a series of tradeoffs, as opposed to a lot of money changing hands,” said Scott. “It will provide a big, big benefit in terms of safety. Nobody has their hand out. Everybody is trying to do something to help contribute.”

Douglas County leaders have set aside $50,000 in their five-year regional transportation plan to pay for the work. Minden is providing design, surveying, mapping and other technical services.

Gardnerville leaders have offered to help pay for a small park at the site of the existing County Road intersection. Currently, a small stone monument to the Gardnerville Future Farmers of America chapter and signs establishing Minden and Gardnerville occupy the tip of the Copeland property.

Ideally, the site could be home to a neatly landscaped area with an evergreen that might be a perpetual Christmas Tree and a double-sided sign welcoming drivers to Minden and Gardnerville.

In addition, Scott said Gilbert is planning to improve First Street in Minden, which borders the Copeland property to the north.

First Street could become one- way with diagonal parking, and Gilbert has proposed installing brick planters and light fixtures, Scott said.

“It will enhance First Street,” said Scott. “I think it’s going to be a really neat project.”

Though formal agreements have not been completed, Scott said the work could proceed in the spring of 2000.

Changes to the County Road-Highway 395 intersection have been discussed for the past few years. The effort was spurred by town leaders, though the county and state officials are supportive of the proposal.

The intersection dates back to Minden’s early days, and an undated map provided by the county Geographical Information Systems office shows County Road as the primary highway route through Minden. According to the map, County Road occupied its current location between highways 88 and 395, and Railroad Avenue, the official name of Highway 395 through Minden, ran only along the east side of the town to the area of Tenth Street, parallel to the Virginia and Truckee Railroad line.

Later maps show that Railroad Avenue had been extended to the current intersection with Highway 88 and assumed status as a U.S. highway, leaving County Road as a secondary route.