Representatives from the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) made a presentation to area residents on 8/10/2021 at the Tamarack Casino in South Reno. Easels were provided with graphics showing parts of the highway from Douglas Fir down to South Virginia St (Old 395). The apparent goal was to consider which vision should be selected for the long term improvements.
- The “Suburban Parkway” would have a sunken median of soil preserving a more natural style and use traffic circles at Callahan and possibly Edmonton. This would include a “shared use” pedestrian/bicycle path on each side of the highway.
- The “Urban Arterial” would have a concrete median and use signal lights at the intersections. It would have curbs and gutters and look like the city. This would include a “shared use” pedestrian/bicycle path on each side of the highway.
One possible choice would be to have the Suburban Parkway style from Bordeaux to Thomas Creek and then the Urban Arterial from Thomas Creek to South Virginia Street. This would put a traffic circle at the Callahan Road intersection and a light at the Edmonton intersection.
There was another vision that the NDOT staff abandoned early. This would flank the highway with frontage lanes so that smaller intersections would not cross the through lanes.
Jae Pullen (NDOT Project Manager) said that there are short term solutions for the Callahan and Edmonton intersections that did not need to wait for the expansive vision to be implemented.
Callahan Road would get raised traffic islands and a full length deceleration lane for downhill traffic turning right onto Callahan. The traffic islands would allow Callahan traffic to reach the edge of the intersection before making a left turn (uphill) or straight into Monte Vista. It would be a shorter distance to turn left from Callahan onto Mount Rose Highway with better visibility. A center barrier would also be provided along Mount Rose Highway in the vicinity of the intersection.
Edmonton would get a “High-T” intersection that would allow for left turns out of Edmonton onto Mount Rose Highway. This is a complicated arrangement of islands and dividers that would give left turning Edmonton traffic a protected merge lane after crossing the downhill traffic lanes. There would also be fencing to keep out deer and other wildlife from crossing the highway.
There was a lively question and answer session that brought out the following facts.
- NDOT plans to make the new lanes narrower: 11′ wide instead of the current 12′ wide. This will discourage freeway speeds. The 12′ width is the federal standard for freeways.
- No dates were given for any of these improvements. Some attendees speculated that NDOT was hoping to get new federal infrastructure funds.
- NDOT is using an analytical model that extends to 2050. It presumes continued new development based on zoning that would include Terrasante and Ascente.
- The Douglas Fir intersection to the South Virginia Street intersection is about 7.5 miles.
- There is a problem of speeding motorists on Mount Rose Highway. NDOT does not have a plan to address this.
- The NDOT plans presented in December 2018 included various “traffic calming” measures. This is not part of the current plan which has new staff and a new mission. The 2018 effort was just a “road safety assessment”.
- NDOT is evaluating the circle at Veterans Parkway for ways to improve it to increase its capacity.
- NDOT might consider a pedestrian overpass across Mount Rose Highway depending on what configuration is selected.
- The intersection of the 580 NB offramp and Mount Rose Highway is dangerous and will need a signal light.
- Pullen was insistent that the Callahan intersection did not meet any of the requirements to have a signal light despite the hazard there.
NDOT will have an online survey the residents can access and respond to till September 10.