20-minute drive becomes a 1-hour delay on 50 East: Fined last week for delays, road contractors again hold up commuters on highway through Dayton
CARSON CITY – Hour-long delays caused by road construction on Highway 50 East in Dayton during the Thursday morning rush hour will not be repeated, a state official said.
Traffic was backed up for miles along the main route through town, causing children to be late for school and employees to miss work. A field trip for 100 Dayton Elementary School second-graders was canceled.
“I had a lot of kids in tears, they were all really upset,” said teacher Jennifer Bailey.
Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Magruder said the contractor, Road and Highway Builders of Reno, was repaving at the intersection of Dayton Valley Road and Highway 50 and “didn’t have a good handle” on stopping and directing traffic at the light. Highway 50 was narrowed to one lane in some areas.
“This is totally unacceptable, and we are going to ensure that it does not happen again,” Magruder said Thursday.
Road and Highway Builders of Reno shut work down at 7 a.m., but traffic did not clear until after 10 a.m. NDOT received about 100 complaints from commuters. The contractor is restricted from working today and Monday, Magruder said. Work will resume Tuesday afternoon.
This isn’t the first delay on Highway 50 East because of this road project. Road and Highway Builders was restricted from working in the eastbound lanes between 2 and 8 p.m., after it caused long delays on May 9. The contractor was fined $7,000.
The contractor could receive a fine this time for delaying traffic for more than a half hour. Magruder said NDOT and the contractor take responsibility for the delay, because the contractor was not restricted from working during rush hour. Road and Highway Builders’ president could not be reached for comment by press time.
The intersection work is part of a $14.3 million paving project from State Route 341 to Fortune Drive. The five-mile stretch from Fortune Drive to Chaves Road will be widened to four lanes. The project should be completed by the end of the year.
Jennifer Morgan, mother of 8-year-old Mason, said it took her 50 minutes to drop her son off at Dayton Elementary, on Old Dayton Valley Road. This trip usually takes 10 minutes.
“I’ve never seen it as backed up,” she said.
Some children waited at bus stops for up to 40 minutes and then had to get rides from parents.
All 12 buses that transport children to Dayton’s two elementary schools, Dayton Intermediate School and Dayton High School were delayed. Absences were not counted at the schools.
Classes at Dayton Elementary start at 8:45 a.m., but a majority of students didn’t arrive until about 9:30 a.m. Four classes of second-graders missed their field trip because of the delays with school buses, which were still sitting in traffic instead of transporting children to the Wilbur D. May Museum in Reno.
Bailey said the field trip is rescheduled for Tuesday.
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