Long-delayed Decatur plan on track

This week, readers want updates on whether Decatur Boulevard will ever do a dipsy-doodle by some train tracks and when Warm Springs Road will spring commuters from a southwestern valley traffic trap.

And the Road Warrior finds a business whose slogan could be: "We're Number One!"

Linda Harrison asks: Do you have any updates on when Decatur Boulevard will open to the southern Las Vegas Beltway? Are they going to go under the railroad tracks? They have been talking about this for a very long time. Where is the action?

Good news, Linda. Sounds like this long-delayed plan is going to get started sometime early next year, according to Bobby Shelton, a spokesman for Clark County's public works department.

The county had hoped to start this work five or so years ago, but it had been held up amid negotiations with Union Pacific Railroad, whose tracks now cut off both Decatur and Warm Springs Road in that area.

"We're still in the process," Shelton said.

But now, it appears all major issues have been resolved, and the county hopes to start construction in early 2008, Shelton said. It's expected work will take 30 months to complete.

The work will require digging out a pair of dips under the train tracks, which would carry both Decatur and Warm Springs under the tracks. Trains would continue to travel at ground level, but bridges need to be built to carry the tracks over the dips.

The dips would be like those where Union Pacific train tracks go over Charleston Boulevard and Bonanza Road near Interstate 15 in downtown Las Vegas.

It's expected the project will cost around $31 million. Once finished, it'll give land-locked southwestern Las Vegas Valley commuters new options in getting in and out of that area, which now largely lacks secondary roads.

The lack of alternate routes has jammed traffic on main thoroughfares like Blue Diamond Road (state Route 160), and traffic accidents can virtually paralyze ingress and egress in that area.

One more thing: Speaking of paralyzed access, Warm Springs commuters who've been left virtually imprisoned by the closure of that street's stricken bridge over Interstate 15 may be in for some good luck, after weeks of bad.

Work started Monday night on fixing the bridge, which suffered serious damage after a truck hit a bridge pillar May 21 (and which we detailed in last Wednesday's column). Laborers from Meadow Valley Contractors, Inc. removed cracked concrete and poured fresh concrete Tuesday.

"We'll see how it sets," said Bob McKenzie, a spokesman with the Nevada Department of Transportation. "Everything seems to be going very well. It seems like we'll be opening it well before Friday morning," the original reopening target.

If all went well overnight, it's possible the bridge could be open right now. "Hopefully, by the time your paper hits the streets, we'll be open to traffic," McKenzie said.

If not, drivers can expect Warm Springs to be closed in both directions at I-15. And I-15 commuters should watch for lane reductions at Warm Springs as long as work is taking place.

While the road is closed, alternate routes can be tough to find. Warm Springs is one of only a handful of roads that connect to north-south routes like I-15 toward the city's center.

One possible escape route -- Route 160 -- is cut off at Decatur because of road work. That intersection was supposed to open earlier this month, but it hasn't. The latest reopening date is 5 a.m. Friday; we'll see if it really happens.

And another possible link would be the Beltway, if Decatur went past the railroad tracks. So we've come full circle.

By the way, the fix costing $148,595 will be billed to the insurance company of the trucker that caused the mess in the first place.

Hit 'n Run: This was the slogan painted onto a side wall of Nevada Radiator, a car repair shop on Main Street just south of Charleston Avenue: "Best Place In Town To Take A Leak!"

That is, a leaky radiator, you perverts.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call the Road Warrior at 387-2904, or e-mail him at roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com or OSofradzija@reviewjournal.com. Please include your phone number.