Sparks – Due to increased horse activity on U.S highway 50 and Alternate U.S. 395, Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA) and Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) officials urge motorists to use extreme caution when driving in the Virginia Range area.
“We see an increase in horse activity during the summer and fall months when horses in this area cross roadways or enter neighborhoods in search of feed and water sources,” Doug Farris, NDA Animal Industry division administrator, said. “The increasing feral/estray horse population, combined with urban sprawl, presents a clear public safety risk.”
According to NDOT, there were a total of 149 horse-related crashes between 2015 and 2017. Of those, 25 resulted in human injury, and two resulted in human death.
To help reduce vehicle-animal collisions, NDOT has installed wildlife/livestock fencing on many sections of U.S. 50, Alternates U.S. 95 and 395, USA Parkway and other area highways. Three wildlife/livestock undercrossings have also been installed to reduce chances of crashes as horses or wildlife cross area highways. In addition, NDOT is installing 14 miles of new livestock fencing on U.S. 50 between Stagecoach and USA Parkway.
Drivers should remain alert and aware and be sure to obey all traffic laws. The Virginia Range includes the areas of Fernley, Dayton, Lockwood, south Reno, Hidden Valley, Silver Springs, Stagecoach, Virginia City and northeast of Carson City. Extra caution should be taken at dusk and during the night.
“Please remember it is unsafe and illegal to feed any feral livestock,” Farris said. “With NDA approval, our cooperative partners are permitted to conduct diversionary feeding to encourage the animals away from areas that may cause increased public safety risk.”
To report illegal feeding or horses on roadways, please call 775-353-3608 with specific details.