Interchange opening moved up to 2010

This week readers want to know when the new Las Vegas Beltway interchange with Lake Mead Boulevard is going to open, are sound walls going to be erected on both sides of the Beltway at Desert Inn Road, and what exactly do "when children are present" school signs mean? And we learn about a personalized licence plate that will save one valley driver from being pulled over by police if O.J. Simpson makes a break for it during his upcoming trial.

Jane Szymanski asks: Can you tell me when the new ramp to the Beltway from Lake Mead Boulevard in Summerlin will open? I thought it was supposed to open this month?

Ding, ding, ding, ding! You're right Jane! Back in October, I was told the Lake Mead interchange construction project would be complete by the end of July at a cost of $12.3 million.

And Bobby Shelton, spokesman for the Clark County public works department, said the work is proceeding as scheduled.

That means Jane will be able to use the interchange come August, right?

Of course not.

Apparently, a few months back the Clark County Commission directed the folks at public works to keep the interchange closed until development west of the interchange begins AND the Beltway interchange with the Summerlin Parkway is finished in 2010, Shelton said.

This was something the commission agreed to after discussions with representatives of the Sun City community. A number of residents out there have expressed concern that opening the interchange will increase traffic on Lake Mead and increase crime, Shelton said.

Shelton said the Lake Mead interchange will remain closed unless public works receives different directions from the County Commission.

If you really want to see it opened, I'm sure there's always room for political persuasion during an election year. You never know what influence a timely petition can have on folks seeking public office.

Sue and Wes Hart ask: There is a sound wall being erected on the east side of the Beltway at Desert Inn alongside the Alexander Dawson School. Are there plans for a similar wall to be built on the west side of the Beltway alongside Goolsby Elementary? We live on the west of the Beltway across from both schools and are concerned that if the sound wall is erected only on the east side, it will act as a baffle sending more sound from the beltway towards our home.

I checked with Shelton on this and he said there are no plans to build a sound wall on the west side of the Beltway from Hualapai Way to Charleston Boulevard.

He added that studies of the region were done and found that sound walls weren't necessary for the west side of the Beltway in the area.

There were public meetings held prior to the final design of the road in that area and Shelton said he was not aware of any inquires regarding sound walls in the area.

Alan Hoffman called: There's a school zone sign at Spencer Street and Wigwam Avenue. It says the speed limit is 15 mph "when children are present." What exactly does that mean? Does it mean when children are in school or when children are using the crosswalks?

I checked with the Nevada Revised Statutes to see how state law addresses this issue and I found out that state law doesn't address this issue.

Revised statute 484.366, section 1, seems to be the authority. The statute states drivers will not drive more than 15 mph in a school zone except: "(b) During the period from a half hour after school is no longer in operation to a half hour before school is next in operation."

Although that seems to address driving in a school zone, it doesn't determine what "when children are present means."

I spoke with Lt. Carlos Cordeiro with the Metropolitan Police Department's traffic bureau and he told me both the city of Las Vegas and Clark County have been erecting these signs with the intention that it means when school is in session and children are present.

Cordeiro said the problem is that different schools are in session at different times and he doesn't expect every driver to know every school's schedule.

Cordeiro is hoping the Legislature will address this problem during next year's session.

In the meantime, I would recommend slowing down to 15 mph when you know school is in session (regardless of whether you see any students) just to avoid any problems.

Hit n' Run

Plate seen on a white Ford Bronco in Henderson: NOT OJ.

I think it's self explanatory.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call Francis McCabe at (702) 387-2904, or send an e-mail to Please include your phone number.