Baffling Beltway to be addressed

This week readers want to know whether there will be more work done on the Las Vegas Beltway near Aliante Parkway in the northern valley; and should motorists wait for the cones before merging at a lane closure.

Kaitlin asks: Is there going to be more work done on the Beltway at Aliante Parkway? The highway is confusing out there.

This section of the Beltway has raised a lot of questions from readers. One reader expressed concern over the freeway because it splits into two roads and one of them dead ends. Another reader said it was difficult to see the lane markings on the road with the glare from the setting sun.

Clark County public works officials are aware of those issues, spokesman Bobby Shelton said.

The county tried to fix the glare problem by repaving the road and putting down new lane markers, he said.

The reflection on the roadway was obliterating the new markings and highlighting the old markings on the pavement which had been blackened over, Shelton said.

As a result there were drivers moving over onto the wrong side of the road and into oncoming traffic.

The repaving was aimed at fixing that problem.

Onto the split roadway issue.

Getting the Aliante Parkway interchange redone was the priority of phase 1 of an improvement project to upgrade the Beltway from Decatur Boulevard to North Fifth Street.

At a cost of $93 million, phase 2 of the project will see even more work done on that 41/2-mile stretch of the Beltway, Shelton said.

The project will see new “mainline” travel lanes, which means separated east and west travel lanes similar to the Beltway in the southern valley, and a new interchange and bridge at North Fifth Street, Shelton said.

Phase 2 is set to begin in late August and isn’t expected to finish until the end of April 2011, Shelton said.

Michael Shackleford asks: When signs appear that say “road construction merge left/right,” are you supposed to merge as soon as it is safe to do so or wait until cones force the merge?

Motorists are running into this problem on Interstate 15 as the Nevada Department of Transportation continues to build express lanes between Sahara Avenue and Russell Road, especially on the southbound portion of the freeway.

Robert McKenzie, spokesman for the Transportation Department, said according to the uniform traffic control manual put out by the Federal Highway Administration, motorists should merge as soon as it is safe to do so.

“An alert motorist should move over as soon as possible,” he said.

But there are those motorists who speed up to the cones because either no one will let them in or they think they can somehow avoid congestion.

“Common courtesy should play a role but doesn’t always,” McKenzie explained.

And congestion is exactly what happens in that case as motorists in the merging lane often have to come to a complete stop before squeezing in, McKenzie said.

Drivers also need to realize these merges are there because it is a construction zone and they need to slow down, McKenzie said.

Hit ‘n’ Twit

On top of learning the feelings of your family and friends who post updates to Twitter and Facebook, you also can get road closure updates.

The Nevada Department of Transportation is posting updates to Twitter (search for NDOT District 1) and Facebook (search for Nevada DOT).

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call Francis McCabe at (702) 387-2904, or send an e-mail to Please include your phone number.

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