It hurts, but Sinatra will be shut a little longer

This week readers want to know why Frank Sinatra Drive is closed behind the City Center project, what's going on with construction on the Las Vegas Beltway at Flamingo Road and whether there will be a beltway interchange at Aviary Way, just west of Aliante Parkway. And the Road Warrior asks for your help.

Sue asks: Why is Frank Sinatra Drive shut down?

Remember those strong winds that blew through the valley a few weeks ago? Well the wind did more than spread sand and dust over your car and in your shoes, it also took out a sign at Bellagio.

The sign stands over Frank Sinatra Drive, right behind the City Center construction site at Harmon Avenue.

For the past couple of days cranes have been removing the damaged sign and fixing it up.

Bobby Shelton, spokesman for the Clark County public works department, said Frank Sinatra Drive was closed so the work could be done and no debris would fall on passing vehicles.

The roadway named for the Hoboken Kid will remain closed from Harmon to Rue De Monte Carlo through March 28, Shelton said.

It's definitely one of the tougher road closures in town, especially since Frank Sinatra is used by many locals as a back way to get around Strip traffic.

One solution I found to reach the south end of the Strip, while avoiding that area, was to take Industrial Road south, cross under Interstate 15 and take Dean Martin Drive south to Connector Road and cross over the freeway via the Hacienda Avenue overpass. That will put motorists at the rear end of Mandalay Bay and Luxor.

It may be out of the way, but it has to be better than driving Las Vegas Boulevard.

A reader asks why Clark County is widening the Las Vegas Beltway at Flamingo Road. It seems like they just finished all the work, the reader says.

The beltway is being widened from south Decatur Boulevard to Charleston Boulevard, Shelton said.

It's part of a $15.5 million project that, when complete, will allow motorists to travel from Charleston Boulevard to Henderson with three lanes in each direction, Shelton said.

"It's been in the plans for years," he said. "We're upgrading it (the beltway) to a full freeway facility."

Shelton said the widening, which began midway through February, should be done by the end of September.

Staying with the beltway theme, another reader asks whether the county plans on building an interchange at Aviary Way, just west of Aliante Parkway. There's a lot of work being done on the side of the road.

No interchange for you!

The work you see is for the eventual interchange for Aliante Parkway and the beltway that will work in conjunction with the proposed interchange with North Fifth Street, Shelton said.

Currently, the county is installing an 18-inch water line adjacent to the beltway. Next a 36-inch water line will be put in, Shelton said.

Station Casinos is helping pay some of the costs for the project, which is scheduled for completion in January 2009.

There is a lot of work being done and motorists should be alert as lanes will be shifting for the next few weeks.

Hit N' Run

It's my turn to ask a question. Do you or anybody you know own or drive one of those "Smart Cars" made by Mercedes-Benz? I've seen a few in my travels and I am interested in finding out how they hold up on valley roads. Give me a call or send an e-mail if you are willing to share some information about the cars.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at or (702) 387-2904.