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County crews upgrading traffic signals in the valley

Area motorists can expect to encounter several delays while driving along Highway 160 this week.

Nye County Public Works crews recently began upgrading the valley’s three traffic lights along the highway.

Nye County Commission Chairman Dan Schinhofen, this week, stressed the importance of the task.

“It takes an incredibly long time at the Highway 160 and Basin (Avenue) intersection for the light to turn green if you’re going a certain direction,” he said. “When you pull up to the intersection there are sensors under the blacktop and when you trip it, it tells the computer that a car is at the intersection which will trigger the green light.”

Nye County Public Works Director Tim Carlo said motorists should slow down and use caution as crews complete the project at the intersections.

At present he said Nye County Sheriff’s Auxillary officers are directing traffic, by hand as crews work to complete the project.

“We are upgrading the traffic controllers for the traffic signals in the valley and we have to put the traffic signal in the flash mode while we do that,” he said. “We got the sheriff’s auxiliary to help us out with traffic control while the work is being done. The whole project is basically new, upgraded traffic controllers.”

Schinhofen, meanwhile said it’s unclear exactly when the work will be completed.

“We have also had some issues with the traffic signal at Winery Road and Highway 160 a few days ago,” he said. “There is a computer in those boxes and occasionally things malfunction. They need to be maintained. We only have three traffic lights in town and if one goes down, it’s certainly a story.”

The commissioner also noted that at least with the roundabouts, little, if any maintenance will be required for the traffic circles.

Schinhofen also gave his thoughts on the two roundabout projects in the valley while noting he’s hopeful the work will be completed by the end of April.

He said he’s hearing the concerns of some area residents who believe the action will increase the number of traffic collisions along Highway 372 at Pahrump Valley Boulevard and Blagg Road.

“Hopefully, everyone will know that there are two rules when negotiating a roundabout,” he said. “You always yield to the person on your left and you don’t stop when you’re in it, and you turn right to get out. It’s that simple.”

Schinhofen also said he’s reading Facebook posts from Pahrump residents who claim that larger vehicles will not be able to negotiate the roundabouts.

“There are people saying that semi-trucks wouldn’t be able to get through the roundabouts,” he said. “Let me just say unequivocally that they can. They are designed that way. They have a wide enough berth that allows bigger trucks to get through.”

Additionally, Schinhofen noted the roundabouts require very little maintenance, unlike traffic signals.

“One of the good things about the roundabouts coming in is we don’t have maintenance costs associated with them,” he said. “With the traffic lights however, although they are on the highway, we have to maintain them. A couple years ago, somebody took out the box at the intersection at Highway 372 and Highway 160 after smashing into it.”

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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