Construction to Mt. Rose Highway ramp in Incline completed
November 21, 2016
The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) announced Friday, Nov. 18 that construction to enhance the truck escape ramp on the westbound side of the State Route 431 Mt. Rose Highway in Incline is now complete.
Construction on the project started back in the beginning of May of this year. For the safety of truck drivers, semi-trucks headed westbound on the highway were prohibited during the course of construction. Now that the project is complete, commercial trucks are once again permitted to travel both directions on Mt. Rose Highway.
"Approximately 5,000 vehicles travel this section of the Mt. Rose Highway every day, including semi-trucks," NDOT District Engineer Thor Dyson said in a recent press release. "We are dedicated to traffic safety and mobility, and this innovative truck escape ramp system will help keep the road safe for all drivers and the community in general."
Q&D Construction, Inc. was the contractor on the project. They converted the old rock surface ramp to asphalt and installed a series of six pre-tensioned dragnets. The nets are designed to catch the front grill of runaway semi-trucks and absorb the impact while slowing and stopping the vehicle. Two flashing signs and a large overhead digital message sign was also installed to inform drivers if a truck is on the ramp.
According to a recent press release, Q&D Construction completed the project on schedule at a cost of approximately $4.6 million.
The previous runaway truck ramp was constructed in the 1970s and the need for renovations to the ramp became apparent after several fatal incidents.
In June 2010 a semi-truck driver named Frederick Matthews, 41, was killed when he drove his out-of-control truck on to the ramp. The ramp failed to stop the truck and it was vaulted off the ramp into the residential area below. The truck crashed into a home setting the house on fire and trapping Matthews inside.
The sole occupant of the house, Gwendolynn Ewasko escaped unharmed but four cats also died in the fire.
In April 2012, a driver of an 18-wheeler carrying long pieces of wood hit the ramp. The ramp stopped the truck and its trailer but the load of wood continued its momentum through the cab of the truck killing the driver Eric S. Holton, 31.
The enhancement provides a safer system for truck drivers in emergency situations. The asphalt surface of the truck ramp will be heated to make sure that snow and ice does not hinder the effect of the nets during winter months.
"This innovative truck ramp system has been shown to be effective, and truly save lives, where it has been used in other countries and states," Meg Ragonese, public information officer with NDOT, said in a previous email with NNBW.
This is one of four emergency-use runaway truck ramps in Nevada. Two other ramps are located on U.S. 50 between Carson City and Lake Tahoe and the fourth ramp is located in Laughlin.