Nevada DOT Installs I-580 Wrong Way Alert System

The Nevada Department of Transportation said it has substantially completed installation of wrong-way driver detection systems on I-580, known as the Carson City Freeway. The agency has been installing such technology on selected highways statewide since 2019.

[Above photo by the Nevada DOT]

Nevada DOT noted in a statement that it currently places “Wrong Way” signs on all freeway off ramps to notify drivers errantly entering in the wrong direction.

While the wrong way driver systems are now installed and active at all five exits, drivers will see brief lane and ramp closures in coming weeks as installation wraps up. The agency noted it is also proactively identifying additional interchange off-ramps throughout the state for potential future wrong-way driver detection systems.

In addition to those existing signs, Nevada DOT said it has installed wrong-way driver detection systems on the following five I-580 off ramps in Carson City:

  • Fairview Drive: Northbound and southbound off ramps;
  • U.S. 50: Northbound and southbound off ramps;
  • East College Parkway: Northbound and southbound off ramps;
  • Arrowhead Drive: Northbound off ramp;
  • North Carson Street: Southbound off ramp.

The system uses radar and closed-circuit cameras to automatically detect vehicles entering in the wrong direction, activating two sets of red flashing wrong-way signs on the ramp. The first set of signs stands four feet high instead of the standard seven-foot sign height to more readily reach the lower eye level of sleepy or impaired drivers and serve as a highly-visible indication to stop drivers from entering the wrong way.

Between 2014 and 2018, an average of 27 crashes and over 90 citations occurred every year associated with wrong-way crashes in Nevada, the agency said.

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that there were 3,885 deaths resulting from wrong-way crashes between 2010 and 2018 across the U.S., with over half of those killed being the wrong-way driver.

Nevada DOT said it also conducted its own study of wrong-way driver alert systems. As part of the study, the agency installed 37 wrong-way driver detection systems statewide, including on U.S. 395 in the North Valleys. That study showed 84 percent of wrong-way vehicles detected by the system safely turned around before entering the freeway.

Other state departments of transportation are also installing wrong-way driver detection systems as well, such as in Connecticut and Delaware, Utah, and Kentucky.

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