RENO, NV - The scene in Washoe Valley back in January of 2008 looked much like the scene from the movie "Fargo" and would ultimately lead to the injury of a state trooper, who had pulled over to investigate a rollover accident on 395 when a truck carrying a trailer ran into her vehicle while she was in it.
“What happens is the wind blows over, the highway causes it to freeze and then we have ice on the road. So between the wind, the white-out conditions and the ice on the road, you can't drive,” says Trooper Scott Simon.
“We all know for whatever reason, as it comes off the the mountain here, we all know Washoe Valley has winds that can be so horrendous,” says Scott Magruder with Nevada's Department of Transportation.
Workers are in the process of installing 1200 feet of snow fence along the 395 and I-580 corridor through Washoe Valley.
It is a first-of-its-kind in northern Nevada, but they have been used in Wyoming along Interstate 80 there for years.
“This is part of the I-580 freeway project. We always wanted to come out here and put up these snow fences,” says Macgruder.
The fence will act as a porous windbreak with wind and snow passing through it. The structures cause the wind to drop the snow it's carrying.
Several hundred feet from the roadway, the snow will ideally stop there.
That means better visibility for the driver, a less icy road surface, and there are money savings too with fewer snow removal services.
The fence should be completed by the end of next week; then with one good Northern Nevada winter, it should prove its worth.
At that time transportation officials will evaluate its effectiveness.
If the snow fence works well in the Washoe Valley corridor, workers could extend it further alongside the roadway.
Or another fence could be constructed somewhere else in northern Nevada where wind and snow are a problem.