Excellent cooperation between state and county road department crews and local law enforcement was a major factor in handling the situation well with the traffic problems on U.S. 93 and State Route 319 in Lincoln County last week.
Estimates put the number of vehicles that traveled the roads in a 72-hour period may have exceeded 50,000.
Robert Steele, Nevada Department of Transportation Supervisor for the Alamo district, said the roads in his section held up very well. “We didn’t have any issues on 93 from Pahroc Summit to the County line. But, I expected that, because we keep our roads in really good shape.”
However, in the Panaca district, under supervisor Brad Lloyd, there were a few hindrances at two particular places: the rough spot on 93 at mile marker 106 near Jim Wilkin Trucking, and a section on 319 about two miles from the Nevada-Utah border. “We were having to patch every day on 319, and that spot on 93 at marker 106. Semis were blowing the roads out, making huge potholes,” he said. Road conditions were said to be similar in places on State Route 56 in Utah.
Lloyd said he also thought that everybody worked together really well. “Shane Cheeney and the Lincoln County Road Department helped a tremendous amount, the County Sheriff’s Department and Nevada Highway Patrol, and Mary Ann Sharp from the NDOT office Ely sent a crew to help out at the Y junction.”
Steele commended NHP and the Sheriff’s Department in doing “a really good job in keeping traffic under control. I was anticipating more accidents than what we had. I give them a lot of credit for that.”
Some accidents did happen during the period, but nothing of extremely serious nature, except one south of Alamo where a truck went off the road into the desert.
Late in the week repair crews were able to open the southbound lane of I-15, relieving some of the traffic that had to be rerouted through Lincoln County. In addition, commercial vehicles are now able to use I-15 northbound between the hours 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., according to Nevada Department of Transportation.
When the freeway first reopened Friday afternoon, commercial vehicles were not allowed to use the northbound lanes. Vehicles weighing more than 26,000 GVW will have to use U.S. 93 outside the 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. hours.
NDOT estimates it will have all lanes of the freeway, both northbound and southbound, reopened Sunday, Sept. 21.