As a former Arizona resident, I really got a kick out of the 2006 Pixar Animation Studios film “Cars,” the tale of a race car and his adventures in the fictitious town of Radiator Springs.
Tiny Radiator Springs was once a bustling town on historic Route 66 that became a victim of progress when Interstate 40 was built and bypassed the town.
In real life, Radiator Springs is a lot like Seligman, Ariz., and a number of other communities bypassed by I-40. Towns like Holbrook, Winslow, Williams, Kingman and even Seligman managed to hang on despite getting taken off the main road that was Route 66.
And that leads to a question from an Arizona Road Warrior reader wondering about the Boulder City bypass. Warrior reader Marc in El Mirage, Ariz., asks:
“The map from a February article makes it look like the road construction changes for the Interstate 11 bypass are a longer drive than the direct route through Boulder City. Can you provide any information on the estimated amount of driving time saved, if any, that might occur after the I-11 Boulder City bypass is completed for the many Phoenix-area people like me who frequently visit Las Vegas?”
First of all, Marc, Boulder City is no Radiator Springs. The tow-truck drivers don’t talk like Larry the Cable Guy, and there’s no tractor tipping allowed.
The Boulder City bypass route will dodge congestion around the Hoover Dam Lodge, a long and steep two-lane climb into Boulder City, a busy intersection at Nevada Highway and Buchanan Boulevard and two traffic lights — three if you count the signal in front of the Railroad Pass Casino.
When there was road construction on U.S. Highway 93 and on the O’Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge over the Colorado River, traffic in the vicinity was ugly — one-hour-delay ugly.
With the bridge completed and U.S. 93 now four lanes of divided highway from Hoover Dam Lodge to Kingman, Ariz., traffic isn’t too bad. And, it’s going to get even better with the bypass.
“The new Boulder City bypass will save a minimum of 30 minutes of travel time from the Hoover Dam Bridge to Henderson as a result of the shorter, more direct route with higher travel speeds and fewer traffic signals,” said Nevada Transportation Department spokesman Tony Illia. “However, the time savings will be even greater during the weekends when traffic routinely backs up through Boulder City.”
It seems hard to believe when you view the distance on a map, but I’ll believe NDOT’s engineers on this one.
It should relieve congestion within Boulder City. Look how Radiator Springs turned out.
Under the category of “We try to answer questions about anything that carries a passenger,” comes this inquiry from Warrior reader Jon:
“I seem to recall an article in the R-J that mentioned Southwest Airlines adding nonstop flights between McCarran International Airport and Manchester, N.H. It hasn’t happened yet. Do you have a follow-up on this?”
Dan Landson of Southwest said the airline used to have a Las Vegas-Manchester nonstop, but not anymore.
“We flew it daily until December 2011,” Landson said. “It changed to a seasonal flight in the summer time frame in 2012 and 2013. We moved away from the route in August 2013, though it did fly on a Saturday-only basis in June of last year.”
There are no plans to bring the service back now.
“With all of our flights, the offering and scheduling is based on supply and demand. While we are not offering the flight currently, we’re always keeping an eye on what the demand is and if there’s enough need for the flight to begin operating again,” Landson said.
Landson said maybe the reader was actually inquiring about Virgin Atlantic Airlines’ service between Las Vegas and Manchester, England.
It’s also a nonstop. But the flight takes twice as long as a flight from Las Vegas to Manchester, N.H. And you’d need a passport to travel there.
As the southwestern valley continues to develop, residents are looking for easier ways to get around. Warrior reader Eric writes:
“I live in the southwest and I was curious to know if the city or county have any plans to extend South Hualapai Way further south from Patrick Lane and connect it to West Sunset Road? Is this even on the radar? I know it would be tremendous help for residents living in this area.”
This is one of those good news/bad new responses, Eric. And the entity in charge on this is Clark County.
The good news is, yes, there are plans to extend Hualapai Way between Patrick Lane and Sunset Road.
The bad news is that it’s going to take a while.
Sunset Road, as I reported a few weeks ago, soon will be completed all the way across the valley, becoming a continuous route from Hualapai Way on the far west side to Pabco Road in Henderson. Sunset’s missing link is a small patch of desert between Decatur and Jones boulevards that will be completed this summer.
For those unfamiliar with Hualapai Way, it’s a north-south road serving the southwest valley and is home to Las Vegas’ two big parochial high schools, Faith Lutheran and Bishop Gorman.
Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin said the section of Hualapai between Patrick Lane and Sunset Road is expected to be built when property adjacent to the street is developed, and that is expected to be in summer 2016.
Questions and comments should be sent to email@example.com. Please include your phone number. Follow @RJroadwarrior on Twitter.