New bridge, new hazard: NDOT addresses unintentioned hazard

Bridge over US 395 north of Reno at Parr Blvd. and Dandini
Bridge over US 395 north of Reno at Parr Blvd. and Dandini(Ed Pearce)
Published: Nov. 13, 2020 at 5:53 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -The new bridge over u.s. 395 North at Parr Boulevard and Dandini-- was completed last month, the first phase in a planned improvement which will eventually ease the daily commute for north valley residents.

The new bridge is a sign of better things to come--a necessary step leading to the widening of the roadway below out to Golden Valley. That project scheduled for 2023.

The new structure replaced a 50 year old span and meets stricter seismic standards and it was completed in what felt like record time.

But soon after it opened we began hearing of a problem. There were reports of close calls, near collisions involving lower profile vehicles crossing the bridge unseen by drivers turning left at the top of the ramp. We checked it out for ourselves.

The combination of a new concrete wall along the ramp, the higher walls on the bridge itself creates the kind of intersection where you kind of have to stick your nose out to see if it’s safe.

Following our report, NDOT took a look and ordered some changes, beginning with holding down speed on the bridge.

“The bridge is safe at posted speed limits," says NDOT spokeswoman Meg Ragonese, "but unfortunately we’re seeing drivers are traveling above the posted speed limit.”

So, a radar feedback speed sign has been installed on the west approach to slow things down.

There’s more on the way. The bridge was built with sidewalks. That means a crosswalk--at the moment to nowhere-- on the south side. The sidewalk will be blocked and the crosswalk painted over. That will allow drivers to pull a few feet further before entering the intersection.

“And as soon as that design is complete we will be meeting with our contractor and we should be able to make those changes fairly quickly,"says Ragonese.

As for that concrete barrier wall? It will be studied.

All of this should be taken care of in 2023. When 395 is widened, the off ramp itself will be rebuilt and moved eastward that should give drivers a much better view of traffic crossing the bridge. In the meantime, look and take care.

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