Clark County Commissioner Jim Gibson helped break ground Monday morning for a new pedestrian bridge on the Las Vegas Strip.
Construction of the bridge will take about nine months. When completed, expected in July 2019, it will cross the Strip at Park Avenue, between Park MGM and the Showcase Mall, Gibson said.
“There are as many as 11,000 pedestrians in this area on a regular basis, and we need a way to get them across the boulevard more safely,” Gibson said.
There are 16 other pedestrian bridges spanning the Strip. The first two were built in 1995 at the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South, county spokesman Dan Kulin said. The last bridge, at Harmon Avenue and the Boulevard, was completed in 2012.
“The bridges are just great,” said 33-year-old Miranda Navarro, jogging in place as she took a quick break from her morning run on the Strip. “The light was too long at the (Park Avenue) crosswalk and there are too many cars, so I run across the bridge.”
Navarro, who was visiting with her family from Cerritos, California, said she sometimes stops during her runs just to look out over the Strip from the bridges.
Navarro and her husband brought their son with them on their extended weekend trip and couldn’t stay out too late.
But that meant opportunities for some early excercise. “I jogged back and forth on the bridges the last two mornings and it was nice,” she said.
Gibson said pedestrian safety is the main advantage of the bridge, but added that it will also help clear up congestion at the intersection.
“If you have that many pedestrians walking along the boulevard with that many cars,” Gibson said, “you’re going to have people trying to dodge traffic. We can’t do that.”
Funds for the bridge come from a nearly 1 percent slice of the county’s hotel room tax, Gibson said, which also paid for the bollards recently installed along sidewalks on the Strip.
“We’ve been doing everything we can to make the boulevard safer. It only makes sense to make it safer in a convenient way,” he said.
Though lane restrictions are expected at various points in the construction schedule, Gibson said the Strip will remain open throughout.