Blue Diamond Road brings on the blues


The Road Warrior opens this week's installment of questions and answers with an unhappy couple who feel they've been passed over by an unfinished overpass. He knows they're unhappy because they use exclamation points:

Adam and Jennifer's concern is about the 3-year-old intersection of Blue Diamond Road and Jones Boulevard in the southwest valley. They write that the intersection was a "massive undertaking" with plans to bring Jones together over railroad tracks immediately north of Blue Diamond.

"However, they did not complete the overpass!" they harrumph.

"To date, only three of the four sections of the intersection are complete!" they lament.

"All of the paint, lights and turn lanes have been completed, but they never connected it to Jones on the north side. Are there plans to complete this bridge? And why did they not complete it at the time of construction?"

Well, Mr. and Mrs. Unhappy Motorists, you know all the recent talk about the recession negatively impacting Las Vegas? You're going to hear it again, albeit in the professional voice of Angela Torres Castro, spokeswoman for the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada:

"The primary project was the widening of Blue Diamond, with the expectation of the future connection of Jones to the south with where it stops north of Blue Diamond. Jones was striped and lights installed because of the anticipated extension across the railroad tracks. Clark County Public Works anticipated completing the project by 2012, but a combination of the recession and stalled development in the area halted it.

"Extending Jones Boulevard to Windmill Lane (to the north), including the bridge over the tracks, is scheduled for construction in 2020."

By the way, the project is expected to cost $29 million - about $19 million of which will come from federal funds and $10 million from the RTC's fuel tax revenues.

It's third-grade arithmetic that two does not go into three evenly. That fact leads to a query from Glen, who says there's a safety issue over the difference in the number of lanes where Blue Diamond Road crosses over Las Vegas Boulevard and becomes East Windmill Lane. Eastbound Blue Diamond has two through lanes before the boulevard, but it widens to three when it becomes Windmill on the other side. "Unfortunately, the lanes don't line up." Glen says. "Why won't the county put the little dotted lines in the middle of the intersection to line up the lanes? Too many times, I've been lined up next to someone heading east on Windmill and they cut me off."

Help may be on the way, says Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin: "We looked into this issue and would like to see the lanes restriped on eastbound Blue Diamond/Windmill to improve the lane alignment through the intersection. The west leg of this intersection is in Nevada Department of Transportation jurisdiction, so we'll reach out to that agency to coordinate the restriping."

While we're on the topic of safety issues, we give props to Neil, who inquires about a light pole on Sahara Avenue, just east of Durango Drive: "The electrical wiring has been sticking up from the base, and someone just covered it up with a small orange cone. Was there supposed to be a pole at that location? Shouldn't someone go back and either put one up or secure the electrical wiring properly?"

There was a light pole there earlier this year, city spokeswoman Diana Paul says, but it was knocked down by an errant motorist: "We are planning to replace it as soon as our schedule allows, which looks to be after the first of the year. Until then, we'll make sure it's electrically safe to the public in the area."

Busy westbound Lake Mead Boulevard, between U.S. Highway 95 and Rampart Boulevard, has had one lane closed recently, and motorist Steve wonders what gives with the inconvenience: "Needless to say, not too good. What's up with this? Eastbound is marked on the sidewalks, too."

The key word here is sidewalks, as the city's Paul explains: "We're constructing and/or upgrading sidewalk ramps as mandated by federal requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act, in advance of a planned street rehabilitation project on Lake Mead. There is also exploratory excavation work being done by the contractor in advance of an upcoming sewer project. The contractor is closing short sections of the outside westbound lane to provide safety protection for the workers completing the sidewalk improvements."

Jack wonders what became of the signs on U.S. Highways 93/95, as northbound drivers approached Railroad Pass, that read, "All trucks stay in right lane for next two miles." Jack says, "They were a great help for car traffic, which could use the left lane at the traffic signal as motorists begin climbing the hill. Presently, trucks use both lanes and car traffic backs up in both lanes. Could these signs return?"

The Road Warrior hates to be the bearer of bad news, especially during the holidays, but in a word - no.

Damon Hodge, Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman, explains: "The signs were removed because, according to our traffic engineer, there was no benefit to them. He said, 'No matter where you put truck traffic, they'll be a hindrance and there will be an impact on capacity. Also, there was no enforcement of the signs. We consulted with Nevada Highway Patrol, and they saw no reason to keep them.' "

Sorry, Jack. They're not coming back.

If you have traffic questions or gripes, email them to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Please be specific, and include your phone number. Not all questions can be answered in print. Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter: @RJroadwarrior.

 

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