Drivers have a long wait for offramp


This week, readers want to know if a new freeway offramp will ever open and how much longer a pair of highway rest stops will stay closed.

And the Road Warrior learns of a GR8 PL8 in the Silver ST8.

Mike Frank asks: I was wondering when the exit ramp from southbound U.S. Highway 95 to Martin L. King Boulevard is expected to open.

How about November of 2008? That's what I'm being told by the fine folks at the city of Las Vegas's public works department.

If you're wondering what the city is doing setting the opening date for a Nevada Department of Transportation project, here's the skinny: The state can't open the freeway link until planned city work on King is well under way.

"We'll be ready for it as soon as the city is ready," said Bob McKenzie, a spokesman for the state's highway department.

Starting in December, city engineers plan to widen King between Alta Drive and Carey Avenue from four lanes to six, along with making stoplight improvements, adding bus pullouts, creating landscaped medians, relocating utility lines and building new storm drains and sewers, at a cost of $36 million, said city public works spokeswoman Debby Ackerman.

The entire project won't be finished until August of 2009, but enough work should be done by late 2008 to allow the new interchange to open, Ackerman said.

"From a traffic safety standpoint, keeping the (new) ramps closed continuously until MLK is completed is the best course to avoid driver confusion," Ackerman said in an e-mail. "Also, the ramps need the MLK widening improvements to be in place in order to function in the best and safest manner."

Oh.

When the work is finished, drivers will have full freeway access in all directions between U.S. 95 at King.

Robert Huddleston asks: I travel to the L.A. area about once a month and have noticed that the rest stop between the Nevada state line and Baker has been closed for months to make repairs. I can't help but believe the pyramids were built faster than it is taking to repair this rest stop. Do you have any information as to when this project is going to be finished?

You'll be using that U.S. 95 ramp at King long before you'll be taking care of business at the rest stop in question, known as the Valley Wells rest area, about 26 miles west of the Nevada state line.

That stop has been closed for about eight months to allow an $8 million reconstruction project that's not scheduled to be finished until at least 2010, or even as late as 2012, according to Terri Kasinga, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation.

"That's beyond maintenance (work)," Kasinga said. "That's one where we have a large project to rebuild the entire station."

The problem with the stop was that it was way too old and decrepit. "A lot of the rest areas are outdated and old, and are getting to a point where they're hard to maintain," Kasinga said.

There's only one other public rest stop on the I-15 corridor between Las Vegas and Victorville, Calif., that being the Clyde V. Kane stop 30 miles east of Barstow, Calif. That stop was briefly closed earlier this year due to plumbing and electrical problems, but is now open, Kasinga said.

Kasinga's advice to travelers is to use commercial rest stops in Primm or Baker as alternates. "There's a lot of stuff available there," she said.

And drivers should be prepared. "Our advice is to bring extra water and snacks," Kasinga said. "When you're going across the desert, make sure your car is in good running order" before you leave.

The rest stop shutdowns have been a nuisance for reader Tom Gettle of Las Vegas. "I guess I will now have to carry a bucket with me when I drive that route," he wrote via e-mail. "I would love to be able to dump the contents of that bucket on the governor's doorstep."

As long as it's not my doorstep, do whatcha gotta do, Tom.

Hit 'n Run: Not long ago, Road Warrior unindicted coconspirator Cindi Maciolek saw a license plate on a vehicle. "And I thought you'd get a kick out of it," she wrote.

Go for it, Cindi.

"I had just exited from northbound (U.S. Highway) 95 onto Ann Road," she said. "While sitting at the stop light waiting to turn onto Sky Pointe, the rather large SUV in front of me had the personalized plate that read: I H8 95."

You know, I hate U.S. 95.

"How perfect," she said.

The kick is up ... and it's gooooood!

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call the City Desk at 383-0264, or send an e-mail to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Please include your phone number.

 

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