NDOT considering median at dangerous highway spots | TahoeDailyTribune.com

NDOT considering median at dangerous highway spots

Sarah Gonser

The possibility of building medians at two of South Shore’s most dangerous curves, the Presbyterian Conference Grounds turnoff and Deadman’s Point, is being considered by the Nevada Department of Transportation.

Although business owners and residents have been fighting for increased safety at the two U.S. Highway 50 turns for years, NDOT is now exploring options as a result of a recent request by the Douglas County Commission.

“This is intended as an accident prevention measure,” said Commissioner Don Miner. “We’re extremely concerned with the number of head-on collisions that repeatedly result in serious injury at those two turns.”

The commissioners suggested incorporating construction of the concrete divides into NDOT’s $14.5 million bin wall repair and erosion control project scheduled next year for Marla Bay, Zephyr Cove and Cave Rock. Miner said they proposed a 3/4 mile median at the Conference Grounds turnoff, and a 1/4 mile median at Deadman’s Point – also known as the Lakeridge turnoff.

According to NDOT public information officer Scott Magruder, the request is raising significant concerns among residents.

“A lot of residents agree something needs to be done, but they are seriously worried about access. A median would entirely eliminate a left-hand turn into their businesses and properties,” Magruder said. “However, this is certainly something we’re taking a look at, although nothing has been decided yet.”

Magruder also noted that a median would create an obstacle in the middle of the highway which drivers might have trouble avoiding, considering the high speeds used while negotiating the turns.

Although openings in the medians would facilitate turning off into businesses and homes, the divides would not eliminate the danger of vehicles stopping in the fast lane, waiting for a break in traffic to cross to the other side.

Traffic management consultant Robert Dabaghian, representing the Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center, said a median would not address the whole problem. The real issue he said, and the only way to reduce accidents significantly, is construction of a turn lane.

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