Our Roads Of Perpetual Construction

This week readers want to know what is going on with the construction on Spencer Street and St. Rose Parkway, whether it's legal to cut through a parking lot to avoid an intersection, and what the law says regarding construction material that hangs off the back of a truck.

Andy Brignone asks: The north side of Spencer and St. Rose has been under construction since dirt was young. Spencer narrows to one lane just before it enters St. Rose and going north from Seven Hills Drive to Spencer, a two-lane road squeezes to one. What are they doing here and when will it be done?

Why would you think anybody is building anything? There just happens to be a whole bunch of construction material lying around.

It sounds as if the material actually is going to be used to build residential property at the intersection. But the project has been stalled for months because of some technical issues, said Ed McGuire, quality control manager for the Henderson public works department.

Andy, I'm sure you were hoping that the construction material would be used to widen Spencer. When Spencer narrows to one lane at St. Rose it creates a bottleneck.

Eventually the road will be widened. The regional transportation plan calls for the widening of Spencer between St. Rose and Warm Springs Road, said Bobby Shelton, spokesman for the Clark County public works department.

The problem is there's a seven-year window for the work to be done.

"At this time, there is no specific design in the works," Shelton said. "Like many other planned traffic capacity improvements, it is awaiting the necessary funding."

Rich Trang asks: Is it legal for vehicles to use a parking lot as a shortcut to get to another street? Between 6:30 a.m. and 8 a.m., southbound vehicles on Decatur Boulevard approach Cheyenne Avenue, and when the light at Cheyenne turns red, many vehicles turn into our shopping center parking lot and use it as a thoroughfare over to Cheyenne. Not only is it rather annoying, it is sometimes dangerous.

Capt. Richard Collins, head of the Metropolitan Police Department's traffic bureau, dug up the prevailing legal statute for this illegal traffic move.

It's called "driving through private property to avoid red signal." Nevada Revised Statute 484.283, subsection 7d states "Vehicular traffic facing the signal may not proceed on or through any private or public property to enter the intersecting street where traffic is not facing a red signal to avoid the red signal."

But let's say you don't know the traffic law off the top of your head; it seems like common sense would dictate that driving through a shopping center parking lot to get to the other side probably is not illegal.

Oh, my bad. I forgot that common sense doesn't apply to many valley motorists.

Harvey and Lois write: We have always been told that objects protruding beyond the rear of vehicles, trucks in particular, must have red flags (or such) making vehicles following aware of the danger of getting too close. Whatever happened to that safety feature?

It seems to have gone the way of the Dodo bird, duck-billed dinosaurs and courtesy on the roads.

Tom Jacobs, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, said the ruling law is Nevada Revised Statute 484.775, "Display of red lights or flag on load."

The statute is very specific. At night, which the law says is from a half hour after sunset until a half hour before sunrise, the driver of a vehicle carrying a load extending four feet or more out the rear must attach two red lights that would be visible from at least 500 feet.

During the day, a red flag or piece of cloth at least 16 inches square is sufficient, the law states.

But you have to wonder whether drivers look at the law as more of a suggestion, rather than a rule to live by.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or (702) 387-2904.