U.S. 95 exit going nowhere fast

This week, readers want to know when the Martin Luther King Boulevard exit from southbound U.S. Highway 95 will open, if Clark County will put a traffic signal at Durango Drive and Russell Road anytime soon, and what the law says about the visibility of rear license plates.

Larry writes: Does anyone know if the Martin Luther King exit from the southbound 95 will open before the year 2010?

In the immortal words of Bill Clinton: I feel your pain.

It can be very frustrating to drive by this wonderful and beautiful piece of roadway and not be able to use it. (If you don't believe me that it is a wonderful and beautiful roadway, just look at the photo at right.)

So what's the holdup?

The city of Las Vegas is set to begin construction to widen Martin Luther King Boulevard from four to six lanes between Alta Drive and Carey Avenue. The city doesn't want to open the exit to traffic until the project is finished in that area.

While the $36 million project won't be done until late 2009, the work near U.S. 95 should be finished by the end of 2008. In 2007, the city promised that work would start as soon as the U.S. 95 widening project was done, in November, but that didn't happen.

I learned Tuesday from the city that construction on the Martin Luther King widening won't begin until the end of February.

Logan asks: Now that the Clark County public works department is working on filling the gap on Russell Road, between Durango and Buffalo drives, will they also be putting in a traffic signal at Russell and Durango?

I wrote about this a while back and was happy to hear the work, as promised by the county, was under way to close the gap on Russell between Durango and Buffalo (the gap actually ends at Cimarron Road).

The construction project should be done by the end of April, a month later than originally anticipated. Of course, it all depends on the cooperation of the weather.

I also remember the intersection of Durango and Russell as being one of the hardest intersections to get across if you are on Russell.

It would seem prudent to put a traffic light there, especially since Russell has become a main artery in the southwest and connects to the Las Vegas Beltway, just west of Durango.

And, yes, the county agrees.

County public works spokesman Bobby Shelton told me the plan is to put a traffic signal at the intersection.The bad news is it may not go up until the end of the year.

Shelton said the original plan was to put the signal in with an improvement package for Durango Drive between Hacienda Avenue and the Beltway.

But that package is not ready to go, so officials are putting the work in as part of a traffic signal package.

Lex Larson asks: What are the laws regarding the obscuring of rear license plates? In Henderson, I saw a white Kia Amanti with pitch-dark windows. It also had a tinted cover over the rear license plate. You would have to tailgate to even know it was a Nevada plate, let alone read the letters, and no way could you ever verify that it had a 2008 tag. Why would anyone want to cover their rear plate ... unless they didn't want people to know who was driving a Kia? What is the law, if there is one?

Well Lex, there are two laws governing the visibility of the rear license plate.

Nevada Revised Statute 482.275, section 4, states all license plates must be "in a place and position to be clearly visible, and must be maintained free from foreign materials and in a condition to be clearly legible."

Nevada Revised Statute 484.551, section 4, goes further and states that automobiles must have a light that illuminates the license plate, making "it clearly legible from a distance of 50 feet to the rear."

As far as why anyone would want to cover their rear plate, maybe they are ashamed of their Dallas Cowboys vanity plate.

I am a huge New York Giants fan and have been avoiding gloating about the Giants' recent playoff victory over the Cowboys because the lady I love is a fan. But now that my Giants are in the Super Bowl, I no longer can contain myself. Bring on 'dem Pats!

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