Light at the end of the tunnel

This week readers want to know whether a traffic light will be put up at the intersection of Blue Diamond Road and Jones Boulevard and what the construction work at Desert Inn Road and Rainbow Boulevard is supposed to accomplish. Also, the Road Warrior pays tribute to that rare breed, a friendly Las Vegas driver.

Michael Sylvester writes: My wife and I live near the corner of Blue Diamond and Jones. It is extremely dangerous to make a left turn onto Blue Diamond. Traffic flies down Blue Diamond at 60 mph even though the speed limit was lowered to 45 mph. Will there be a light put in at this intersection, and will there be some kind of bridge for the train to go over to let the traffic go through onto Rainbow?

Good news for you, your wife and a lot of others who live down in that neck of the desert.

The Nevada Department of Transportation is in the midst of a widening project for Blue Diamond in that area. The $52 million project calls for a new eight-lane roadway with a bridge over the Union Pacific railroad tracks. The Jones intersection will also be redone with a traffic signal, said Transportation Department spokesman Bob McKenzie.

All of that won't be finished until about midway through 2009, which leaves you taking your life in your hands every time you want to turn left onto Blue Diamond.

In the words of Han Solo: "Good luck. You're gonna need it."

Since we're talking about Blue Diamond, I've heard (haven't seen it yet with my own eyes) that the traffic light at Arville Street and Blue Diamond is up and running. I was told a while back by state officials that the light would be working "soon." I'm glad they kept to that strict timetable.

Wendye Lee writes: Yesterday when I left work to drive home on Desert Inn Road, I noticed, after crossing Rainbow, a sign that said "Find alternate route, expect delays for the next six months." I have tried to find out what they're going to do and how much of Desert Inn will be affected, but to no avail. Could you tell me what this is about and when it is scheduled to begin?

The Las Vegas Valley Water District is installing a 36-inch water line under Desert Inn's eastbound travel lane, between Rainbow and Jones, said Bobby Shelton, spokesman for the Clark County public works department.

Motorists should expect lane restrictions and lane shifts to accommodate the construction, especially at night, Shelton said.

The project is under way -- it was scheduled to start Jan. 4 -- and won't be finished for about six months.

But Shelton said the lane restrictions will probably only affect traffic flow through the end of March.

Shelton encouraged drivers to find other routes if they normally use Desert Inn.

Unfortunately, your closest alternate routes would be Sahara Avenue or Spring Mountain Road, both of which are heavily traveled, especially during rush hour.

Hit 'n' Run: About a week ago I was on my way to grab a late lunch, driving west on Charleston Boulevard, when a tan Lincoln Town Car pulled along side me at a red light.

The driver got my attention and told me my rear driver-side tire was low.

I was in such shock at the man's kindness, and his not using a cell phone while driving, that I fear my "thank you" was barely audible.

When the driver pulled away, I was half expecting to see a Canadian license plate, but was pleasantly surprised to find a light blue and yellow plate from the Silver State.

So to you sir, just in case you didn't hear me, thank you.

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