State greenlights Airport Road signal |

State greenlights Airport Road signal

Work on making the intersection at Airport Road and Highway 395 safer has been proposed for years.By this time next year, there could be a traffic signal at the intersection.
Kurt Hildebrand |

The state announced it will install a traffic signal at Highway 395 and Airport Road in late 2017. Representatives of the Nevada Department of Transportation were handing out fliers on Wednesday at the Douglas County flood workshop.

State spokeswoman Meg Ragonese said the work could begin sometime betweenn September and November.

“We’ll be reaching out to local business and civic groups to keep the community updated on the project,” she said.

The intersection will be similar to Johnson Lane and Stephanie Way intersections, according to the state. A stop light will be installed on northbound U.S. 395 at Airport Road.

“The new traffic signal will provide a protected, safer left-hand turn to and from Airport Road and enhance traffic safety on U.S. 395,” officials said.

It has been three years since the state publicly acknowledged the intersection meets the warrants for a traffic light, but denied a request to place one there.

State officials said that the average number of crashes decreased in years following installation of similar signals at Stephanie Way and Johnson Lane.

News that the traffic light was coming first broke in July when the county received a letter from Nevada Department of Transportation Director Rudy Malfabon. The letter said a proposal to build an offset right turn lane would require the purchase of additional right of way, requiring an environmental evaluation.

“A signalized high-T (very similar to the configuration at Johnson Lane and Stephanie Way) was the most economical solution with the highest benefit/cost ratio, provides a significant reduction is severe crashes, and is essentially the only effective solution that could be implemented quickly.”

In his letter to the Douglas County Safety Committee, Malfabon said that department would proceed with design and plan to be under construction next year.

The intersection at Airport Road and Highway 395 has been the scene of several injury accidents over the years.

Douglas County employees are not allowed to use the intersection to make a left turn onto Highway 395. Douglas County school buses turn on Heybourne and use the intersection at Johnson Lane where there is a traffic signal.

Northbound vehicles turning right onto Airport Road can block visibility of motorists waiting to turn left onto the highway.

The offset right turn lane was being designed when the state determined that the additional right of way would require that the state follow federal procedures, Malfabon said.

“Following the necessary Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act is a lengthy process, including the necessary environmental clearance,” Malfabon said.