Improperly timed light causes traffic backup


Not all holiday presents come wrapped in shiny paper with pretty bows. For those who travel our valley's highways and byways, here are a few belated Road Warrior gifts - information and explanations - packaged in this week's installment of questions-answers:

We start with Johannes, who just wants to get home. Not only for Christmas, mind you, but each day after work.

"I drive home on westbound U.S. Highway 95, exiting on Valley View Boulevard and turning north toward Washington Avenue. The intersection at Bonanza Road and Valley View used to have one of the better timing schemes, but since the Valley View construction project started, it has changed into something abhorrent. East-west travel on Bonanza shares a light, moving freely for a short period. But north-south travel on Valley View has been horribly changed. The light turns green for northbound travel and left turns for almost a minute, then turns red. Then southbound travel and left turns get the same treatment. When the light at U.S. 95 is red - or worse, when it's green and the Bonanza light is red - there's a massive traffic backup, frequently making it impossible to turn right onto Valley View.

"What was the impetus behind this and when can I hope to get a properly timed light back on that intersection? I'm tired of getting off on Decatur Boulevard to get home!"

We checked with the folks at the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada's Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation - that's FAST for the unfamiliar - and they said they hoped to have the situation fixed in short order.

But here's the explanation: "The reduced lane configurations required for the work on Valley View made it necessary for the city of Las Vegas to adjust the signals on northbound and southbound traffic. As such, the signals were adjusted so that the northbound through traffic light and the northbound left-turn signal are green simultaneously while the southbound through traffic and left-turn are red.

"Prior to construction, the northbound and southbound through traffic both had green lights at the same time."

The Road Warrior offers a respectful salute to Lt. Col. Al, retired U.S. Air Force, who's worried about traffic entering eastbound Summerlin Parkway from Buffalo Drive: "My concern is for the lack of a yield sign at the bottom left side of the onramp leading into traffic traveling 65 mph. It's scary seeing people come down the ramp with little concern about yielding to the parkway's eastbound traffic."

City of Las Vegas spokesman Jace Radke isn't pulling rank on our fine military man when he says a yield sign won't be added: "There's an auxiliary lane there that allows traffic to get up to speed and then merge. Yield signs are placed where there is no auxiliary lane and traffic must immediately merge into oncoming traffic."

In other words, it's up to the merging motorists to follow the rules of the road.

Dave follows with a yield sign concern of his own, this one about entering westbound Interstate 215: "As I entered the Beltway from northbound Valle Verde Drive, I almost collided with a vehicle entering from southbound Valle Verde. I later went back to see why there was no yield sign for the other vehicle. Actually, there was, but it was placed so close to where you enter the southbound I-215 onramp that it was useless. Can this sign be moved closer to where traffic merges both ramps? The other driver just flew right on without ever yielding. He probably never saw the sign where it's placed."

This is one yield issue that will be addressed, explains Henderson spokeswoman Kathleen Richards: "We've placed in the queue a work order to move the yield sign further west. This should be accomplished in the next couple of weeks."

Some of us just rumble along on valley roads, but motorist Dee really rumbles when she travels Losee Road, between Lone Mountain and Craig roads: "At some point, someone dropped puddles of cement on northbound Losee. The right lane is rough and needs to be repaved, as it's hard on the tires. Is North Las Vegas planning to repave that part of Losee?

The short answer is "yes." The long answer is, "Well, not immediately."

We will let city of North Las Vegas spokeswoman Juliet Casey explain: "There are plans for a new development on the northeast corner of Lone Mountain and Losee. As part of the project, the developer will make off-site improvements that include curbing, gutters, sidewalks and new road paving between Lone Mountain and the Upper Las Vegas Wash. The project will eliminate the rough pavement. Construction is expected to start next year.

"In the interim, the city is working on alternatives to make the existing roadway surface smoother. We should start addressing the problem within the next 60 days."

Neil is embarrassed, and he says we all should be. The lettering on the yellow directional sign leading to Interstate 15 on westbound Sahara Avenue is peeling off - a condition that Neil says can be found on other such signs around the valley: "These signs are the last thing our visitors see before leaving town. It appears we're in a third-world country. Who's responsible for maintaining the signage?"

Ask and ye shall receive. Damon Hodge, Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman, says a replacement sign has been ordered: "Our next shipment of signs is expected at the end of January, at which time we'll schedule its installation."

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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