Go slow on U.S. 93 through Boulder City


Driving to Arizona for the holidays? Pay close attention then, and you could avoid a hefty speeding ticket. The Nevada Department of Transportation recently finished widening portions of U.S. 93 to four lanes between Boulder City and the Hoover Dam bypass bridge. The work alleviated the bottlenecks as planned, but apparently plenty of readers have other concerns regarding the speed limit.

Here is Seth: The new four-lane U.S. Highway 93 through Boulder City down to the Hacienda hotel-casino is very nice and the traffic backups are gone. However, NDOT appears to be changing the speed limit from 45 mph, which it was before construction began, down to 35 mph. No one is going 35 mph, so this is a classic speed trap by the authorities. Can you please check on the situation?

The speed limit was reduced to 35 mph when construction crews were working on the road. Although the highway is fully open, crews are still doing some work on guardrails and the shoulder of the highway. When the weather warms up in the spring, crews will apply the final layer of asphalt and complete the striping. Transportation officials decided to keep the speed limit consistent -- at the lower and safer speed -- until he project is finished.

Will it return to 45 mph? That remains to be seen. NDOT plans to conduct a study to determine what speed best suits that stretch of highway and neighboring businesses. It intends to host community meetings with Boulder City folks to receive their input.

Susan likes roundabouts: Does the city of Henderson have an aversion to roundabouts? The two desperately needed intersections are Wigwam Lane and Arroyo Grande and Windmill Lane and Valley Verde. I drive these all the time, and something needs to be done. I know Summerlin has a lot of them and they work out well.

The city doesn't have anything against roundabouts; it's just that some intersections are better suited to them. They are used when engineers are trying to control every approach to an intersection. Roundabout features don't work well when there is heavy pedestrian traffic at an intersection. In those cases, the city prefers to install four-way stop signs or traffic signals.

Now, to the specific intersections you wondered about: The city believes that a four-way stop sign works better at Wigwam and Arroyo Grande because of the heavy volume of traffic that passes through. Engineers realize that this intersection needs improvement, and next year they will update the pavement markings and install stop signs that are more visible.

As far as Windmill and Valle Verde, traffic engineers said the intersection's proximity to a school and the number of pedestrians who cross there means this would not be ideal for a roundabout.

Rich needs clarification: We would like to know more about these "red light running indicators" you wrote about and how they came about. Specifically, are officers issuing citations based on these indicators alone? If an officer doesn't physically witness a motorist running a red light, yet issues a citation for said infraction based on these little indicator lights, how is that any different than a ticket based on a red light camera?

Rich is referring to a question about little blue and red lights seen on poles that support traffic signals. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that they were used to determine when a motorist runs a red light. These lights are not used as a law enforcement tool but instead are used to study intersections and traffic patterns, yes, to see whether running red lights is a problem. If it is, police will focus their attention on that particular intersection. Rich is correct, Nevada lawmakers have for years shot down technology used in other states to nab scofflaws. In Arizona, cameras capture speeders on the freeway, and in Texas, they nail motorists who run red lights. In Nevada, the lights are just that, lights. No tickets are written based on those lights, Rich.

Rik sees a dead end: I'm curious, on Interstate 15 just north of the 215 interchange, the construction crews appear to have paved a road on both sides of the highway leading right into the railroad track overpass. They even put up a highway sign on the east side right above the road that leads directly into a wall. Are there plans to have the overpass reconfigured or was someone just not thinking about where the road would end up?

No, Rik, this wasn't an oversight. The two-lane frontage roads that flank Interstate 15 will be a straight shot underneath the railroad pass -- eventually. The freeway was widened, obviously making it necessary to also extend the railroad tracks across I-15. The Nevada Department of Transportation and Las Vegas Paving are working with the folks at Union Pacific Railroad to get the work done, but apparently it is a slow process because it will interfere with freeway traffic and railroad freight. In January, a temporary underpass below the tracks will open, and it will include a slight bend to avoid the railroad footings and dirt berms. The road will lead traffic from Tropicana Avenue to either Interstate 15 or the 215. Once the railroad overpass is extended, the road below will be straightened.

Myrna needs a referee: We were wondering, when we come to a stop at a red light and want to make a right turn and the cross traffic is making left hand turns when someone makes a U-turn in front of us, who has the right of way?

Myrna, according to Las Vegas police, the vehicle making the right-hand turn needs to yield to the traffic making left turns or U-turns. Vehicles that are entering a roadway from a side street do not have the right of way; the right of way belongs to the motorists already traveling on the road you are entering.

Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at apacker@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2904.

 

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