$260K in Tahoe crosswalk, highway upgrades could stretch to 2016 | SierraSun.com

$260K in Tahoe crosswalk, highway upgrades could stretch to 2016

Kevin MacMillan
Two pedestrians were killed on Dec. 30, 2011, while attempting to cross Highway 28 near this crosswalk near Raley's.
Kevin MacMillan / North Lake Tahoe Bonanza |

By the numbers

Below are the number of pedestrian deaths in Nevada each of the past six years:

36: 2009

40: 2010

43: 2011

59: 2012

70: 2013

69: 2014*

* As of Dec. 29

Source: Nevada Department of Transportation

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Upgrades planned this year at the Country Club/Highway 28 intersection and to the main crosswalks in town will cost more than a quarter-million dollars and could take more than one construction season, an official said.

Final design permits are expected to be obtained from Washoe County and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency this spring.

“We don’t have an exact timeline for the work, but we are anticipating to begin this summer,” said Nevada Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Meg Ragonese, adding that work could potentially stretch into the 2016 Lake Tahoe building season, as there “are no exact timelines for completion.”

While the engineer’s estimate won’t be ready until final design is completed, Ragonese said the project’s current cost is roughly $260,000.

Ninety-five percent of the money will come from federal Highway Safety Improvement Program funds, with NDOT covering the remainder.

A year ago, NDOT estimated the crosswalk upgrades would cost about $120,000.

The new price tag takes into account added safety measures at the crosswalks Ragonese said, and the Country Club Drive improvements that include restriping the road to include exclusive left turn lanes in both directions onto Highway 28, and upgraded sensors to detect when traffic is building up at red lights on either road.

As for the crosswalks by Christmas Tree Village and Raley’s, both will be relocated immediately east of their respective transit stops; enhanced pedestrian ramps will be installed; and two rectangular, pedestrian-controlled rapid-flashing beacons will be added to both stops.

Two overhead LED street lights also will be added at each stop, designed to illuminate the walkways while also minimizing glare for passing motorists.

“Pedestrian safety is something we at NDOT, and all of our traffic and safety partners across the state take very seriously,” Ragonese said. “… We continue to emphasize pedestrian safety with targeted law enforcement and engineering enhancements. That includes everything from roadway engineering enhancements such as these on State Route 28, to public education and law enforcement campaigns reminding everyone, drivers and pedestrian alike, to watch for each other and share the road.”

As of Dec. 29, there have been 69 pedestrian fatalities in 2014 on Nevada highways, according to NDOT, 11 of which occurred in Washoe County, compared to eight in the same time period in 2013.

Further, pedestrian deaths have nearly doubled on Nevada’s roads since 2009, when 36 occurred, according to NDOT.

The news comes three years after Incline Village residents Robert C. Mathis and Linda Mathis died when they were hit by a vehicle on Dec. 30, 2011, near the unlit Raley’s crosswalk.

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jeff Clark, commander of the Incline substation, said his deputies, as well as Nevada Highway Patrol troopers patrolling the community, have worked closely with residents and NDOT the past three years on crosswalk safety.

In the end, it’s not just the pedestrian’s role to be cautious, he said.

“It’s not an individual responsibility — i’s a responsibility for pedestrians, for cyclists and for motorists to pay attention to their surroundings,” Clark said. “We always hear that, ‘pedestrians have the right of way,’ but it’s still the responsibly of everyone to all pay attention to each other. We all have to share the road, especially here at the lake.”

Once the project is complete, the town’s three main crosswalks on Highway 28 will have pedestrian-controlled flashers.

Erected in 2003, the light at the Northwood/Southwood intersection near the Skate Park — which is a less-modern version than what’s coming this summer — cost roughly $113,000, with 25 percent donated by the Incline community.

To learn more about NDOT’s highways and safety tips, visit zerofatalitiesnv.com/pedestrian.php/.

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