Planning starts for massive Flamingo Road overhaul

One of Southern Nevada’s busiest east-west arterials, named for a historic resort hotel that put Las Vegas on the map, will get a $30 million makeover over the next two years.

The 14-mile length of Flamingo Road — from Grand Canyon Drive at the west end to Jimmy Durante Boulevard at the east end — will be improved with new medians, dedicated bus and bicycle lanes, 86 enhanced bus shelters with shade and seating, and fresh pavement on about 7 miles of the street. Construction also will include the installation of concrete bus panels, the surface areas where buses stop.

From end to end, Flamingo will continue to be a six-lane road with bus lanes that also will accommodate bicycles.

Flamingo won’t be widened. The entire length of the road is about 122 feet wide from sidewalk to sidewalk, although there are some sections at Flamingo’s U.S. Highway 95 freeway entrance that are 100 feet wide.

Vehicle use of Flamingo varies by time and location. It ranges from less than 1,000 vehicles per hour at the ends of the road to nearly 6,000 per hour in the busy resort corridor.

Channelized and raised medians will guide motorists on left turns and U-turns, and nonirrigated land­scaping with rock, gravel and representations of desert animals is planned.

Design work is nearing completion, and construction is expected to begin in October.

Regional Transportation Commission engineers will listen to the public for additional detailed repair ideas through the end of August. They’ll be looking, for example, to fix damaged sidewalks to make sure they’re compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act access laws.

The commission, which is coordinating the project, completed two open-house meetings this week, seeking comments from people who live and work along the road.

At the public meetings, the commission displayed 17 panels showing aerial views of the length of the project with map overlays outlining planned work. Those panels will be displayed online starting Monday at rtcsnv.com, and public comments can be submitted by email from the site.

Commission staff members are gathering notes on detail work that could be added along the road and allaying fears that driveways and entrances would be closed for extended periods. Some construction work will be completed at night, depending on the level of traffic and proximity to residences.

Flamingo is one of the busiest traffic corridors in Southern Nevada, extending east and west from the heart of the Strip. Its intersection with Las Vegas Boulevard is home to Caesars Palace, Bellagio, Bally’s and Caesars Entertainment’s revamped Cromwell boutique property.

Flamingo skirts the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and carries 15 bus transit routes across the valley, including Route 202, which carries more than 12,000 passengers a day, the most frequented line in the area. The commission envisions corridor improvements to benefit motorists, cyclists and pedestrians as well as bus riders.

The commission envisions improvements to be paid with revenue generated by fuel taxes indexed to the rate of inflation. The Clark County Commission approved the indexing plan to keep up with the cost of materials and labor, raising an additional $700 million to fund 185 projects and creating an estimated 9,000 jobs.

For motorists, the cost is 3 cents a gallon, about 10 cents a day through December 2016 for the average motorist.

“Most of the questions we’re getting are from people who want to know how it’s going to affect their businesses,” said Girlie Boorboor, the project construction manager for the commission who also oversaw 2012’s 12½-mile Sahara Avenue improvement project parallel to Flamingo about two miles to the north. “We’re assuring people that no one will be completely blocked and closures will be minimal.”

Project engineers will coordinate sequenced schedules that minimize the impact of traffic.

Flamingo won’t become a 14-mile construction zone. Work will be completed in segments, so the entire project won’t end until September 2015. It’s estimated that 7 miles of the route would be repaved and restriped.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta.