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Portion of Lake Mead Boulevard to get safety improvements in 2017

The Nevada Transportation Department will take away two lanes of Lake Mead Boulevard traffic from motorists for a mile, but return a safer street.

State officials said the $6.5 million “complete streets” project will get underway early next year and take a year to complete.

Details of the project, which will run from Civic Center Drive to Pecos Road, were explained in a public meeting Wednesday. It was the second Transportation Department meeting in two days to announce traffic safety improvements on local streets. A $2 million project was announced for Charleston Boulevard on Tuesday.

The state is handling the project in North Las Vegas because the road doubles as State Route 147.

Program Manager Lori Campbell of the department’s traffic safety engineering division — she’s also the manager on the Charleston project — said the Lake Mead project will include rehabilitating pavement, constructing median islands, and adding 5-foot buffered bicycle lanes, Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant ramps, driveways and wider sidewalks.

Lake Mead Boulevard has 5 feet for sidewalks, 2 feet for gutters, a 14-foot lane shared with bicycles on the far right, an 11-foot center travel lane and a 10½-foot left travel lane with 14 feet in the center for two way left-turn lanes.

After improvements, sidewalks would be 11 feet wide with 2 feet for gutters. There would also be a 5-foot bike lane, a 3½-foot buffer zone, two 10-foot travel lanes and a 16-foot raised concrete median that will have 10 feet for left turns at various intersections.

At Bassler and Brand streets, engineers have planned “Danish offset” pedestrian refuge areas and pedestrian-activated flashing beacons.

Danish offsets feature a turn in direction for pedestrians in the middle of the street that enable those on foot to face oncoming traffic before crossing the street from the midway point.

State officials first considered the project in 2009 and determined that the stretch of road would be made safer with the complete-streets concept. The road sees an average 33,000 vehicles a day and in five years, there have been 468 crashes, two fatalities and 26 serious injuries. Of those, 25 involved pedestrians or bicyclists. Since the completion of the safety study, two more fatalities were reported, including the death of a 50-year-old woman struck by a car on Halloween night in 2014.

“The project is designed to slow and calm traffic with narrower lanes,” Campbell said. “We’ve talked with businesspeople in the area who like the idea of slowing traffic in that neighborhood.”

Few people attended Wednesday’s public meeting, but the Transportation Department is continuing to take public input through March 11 by mail addressed to Campbell at 1263 S. Stewart St., Carson City, 89712, or by email to info@dot.state.nv.us.

Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta

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