Construction, connections and cell phones

This week readers want an update on the construction on Blue Diamond Road; will the connection between Decatur and Silverado Ranch boulevards ever be made; and are there any plans to make the message signs on Interstate 15 accessible on mobile phones?

And we learn why one reader thought she saw O.J. Simpson driving on the freeway.

Jay Porter asks: Can you give us an update on the Blue Diamond construction from Decatur to Rainbow Boulevard? They have now put up a barrier all the way to Rainbow and there is no longer a right turn lane at Rainbow. Traffic backs up all the way past Decatur because of this. My normal 10 minute commute to work took me 45 minutes today. Please tell me this will be finished soon.

Right now the Nevada Department of Transportation is in the midst of constructing the bridge that will go over the railroad tracks that cross Blue Diamond between Decatur and Rainbow.

The bridge is expected to be finished by the end of fall, said transportation department spokesman Bob McKenzie.

“Once we get that bridge constructed it should help quite a bit” with the commute, McKenzie said.

But construction will continue on the $52 million project until winter 2009.

Melody Garland writes: Can you please give me an update or time line on the completion of the intersection at Decatur and Silverado Ranch? All but a very short connecting piece has been completed.

Clark County is about 98 percent done with the design for a project to construct Silverado Ranch, from Decatur to Valley View Boulevard.

Spokesman Bobby Shelton explained that the county is still trying to obtain some rights of way for the project and there are still some modifications to the construction plans, including putting in a traffic signal at the intersection of Silverado Ranch and Decatur.

“The county hopes to advertise this project for construction within the next 60 to 90 days,” Shelton said.

Once construction begins the work will likely take about seven months to finish, Shelton said.

“This particular project will initially see Silverado Ranch Boulevard constructed to two travel lanes (one in each direction) with a continuous center turn lane,” Shelton said.

Improvements will come later when more funding is available, he said.

Neal Slatin writes: As useful as the new Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation’s, or FAST’s, dynamic message signs are when you are on the I-15, it would be more helpful if you could get this information before you get on the freeway. While there is a Web site which displays the data on the signs, it would be useful to make it available in a mobile friendly format. Are there any plans to make it accessible on cell phones?

Don’t you just hate it.

You’re driving down Tropicana Avenue toward I-15 trying to negotiate the road with one eye while checking the Web on your cell phone with the other. All you want to do is figure out if you should take the freeway or the surface streets. And then bang … you discover that the dynamic message signs are not available on your cell phone.

Well, the folks at the Regional Transportation Commission, which oversees FAST, are looking into doing just that.

But it’s not something that is going to happen anytime soon, transportation commission spokeswoman Tracy Bower told me.

“There’s no time line,” she said.

And when it does come about, I’m pretty sure the FAST folks will be hoping we all check our cell phones before we start driving.

Hit n’ Run

A reader told me she thought she saw O.J. Simpson, who’s in town for his robbery trial, driving on I-15 Tuesday morning. She assumed it was Simpson’s car when she saw the personalized license plate “SCOT-FRE.”

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

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