Lane markings draw interest under the sun's glare

The sun in Las Vegas has a keen sense of knowing exactly when we’re on the freeway and have forgotten our sunglasses at home, doesn’t it? And it takes full advantage of that opportunity to shine its very brightest.

Many of us end up squinting, leaning forward and praying no one is in the lane next to us as we try to stay in our own — wherever that might be.

The Las Vegas Beltway construction from Interstate 15 to Windmill Lane made lane markers difficult to see for months when driving west during sunset.

That’s less of a problem now, with the new paving and striping.

Reader Hank had praise for the project. “They have done a great job,” he wrote.

The newly finished construction area on the Windmill Lane end of that project, however, has left some drivers wondering why the speed limit is still marked 55 mph.

The new unmarred paving feels like a Zamboni escaped an ice skating rink and drove down the Beltway. We’re antsy to try it out at a speedy 65 mph, but the road work signs are still there, stifling our inner NASCAR driver.

Dan Kulin with Clark County gave a simple answer: The project isn’t substantially done. Even though that portion of the road seems complete, the project as a whole is still in progress, so the work zone speed limit remains.

Luckily, the whole project is slated to wrap up in January, so we won’t have to slow down much longer.

Back to lane markings: Another area concerned Tammy, who asked about markers on Warm Springs Road from Stephanie Street to Green Valley Parkway in Henderson.

“It is very difficult to drive at night,” Tammy wrote.

The City of Henderson apparently agrees and is starting a “Warm Springs Rehabilitation Project” in April. City spokeswoman Kathleen Richards said the project will include fixing pavement, medians, bus turn-outs and — here you go, Tammy — pavement striping.

The full renovations, however, will take awhile, as goes the business of fixing streets in a busy area, and won’t extend as far as Tammy would like.

Phase one of the project will go from Arroyo Grande Boulevard to Marks Street and should finish by September.

Phase two will extend renovations from Marks Street to Boulder Highway, and that should get started around March 2015.

So there’s half of a problem solved. Some is better than none, eh?

And here’s a different, less common type of lane “marker.” It’s not actual lane striping, but it was noticeable to Anne, who commutes between Sloan and Jean.

Anne was curious about the “dashes” she sees scratched into Interstate 15, which she said run both northbound and southbound.

Curiosity drove her to test out these dashes and see if they would make a funny noise when driven over like the rumble strips do, which are installed on freeways to alert drivers when they’re leaving the roadway (or to annoy their kids in the back seat).

These mysterious strips didn’t make a different noise, at least that Anne could hear. Interesting.

So, “What the heck are these for?” Anne wondered.

These, explained Damon Hodge with the Nevada Department of Transportation, are called dowel bars. They are metal bars installed in sections of older pavement to help extend the life of the pavement. Basically? Load distribution. They “allow for a smoother ride” by guarding against faults or cracks that older pavement might be prone to.

So those little bars are keeping your car from tearing up the road. The little things, right?

Speaking of little things, Anne had good things to say about a small detail of road decorations.

“Kudos to the people who are decorating our local streets with their metal offerings instead of planting greenery that needs to be watered,” she wrote of the steel structures on Washington Avenue.

“Palm trees, flowering plants, a coyote howling, quail, rabbits, crows, and my absolute favorite, two giant scorpions looking like they are fighting —really great.”

I like them too, Anne. Not that I would ever admit this again, but I swerved pretty majorly one time thinking a steel coyote in the Ann Road installation was a real dog about to run into the street.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, send an email to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Include your phone number.