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Drivers lament stillborn projects

This week, readers get to listen to Clark County officials cry poor over a pair of stillborn road projects in the Las Vegas Valley. And the Road Warrior is alerted to a broke bloke on our byways.

Jay Petrick asks: It is literally 100 yards of desert keeping Fort Apache Road from becoming a through road from Warm Springs Road and Rhodes Ranch north to Tropicana Avenue. Do you have any information as to when the powers-that-be construct at least a two-lane road in? Doing so would alleviate a ton of traffic at Warm Springs and Durango Drive.

Don’t hold your breath, Jay. "If we had the money to do the project, we’d do it right away," said Bobby Shelton, a spokesman with the county’s public works department.

The gap in Fort Apache might have to follow the conventional county way of building new roads or filling in incomplete streets. That is, to wait for adjacent private development to occur, in which case the developer would have to spring for the road.

Shelton said such development in the area in question is expected sometime in the next 18 months to two years.

"The options are to allow the development to fill in the road as they normally would, or for the county to find some money and do it now," Shelton said. "That decision has not been made yet, because the funding is not there."

Mark Gold asks: I am rereading your April 11 article, "Russell Road Upgrade Finally About To Start." As a matter of fact, I saved this article and every day I drive down Russell Road between Boulder Highway and Sam Boyd Stadium. I want to scream bloody murder that this project STILL has not started. Someone is BSing the people who have had to drive this road for all these years. It’s about time this project is at least started and measures are taken to clean up the whole area around the stadium.

If Mark seems a little bit more than annoyed — and his comments above are just a portion of what he wrote to me — he’s got good reason to be steamed.

A plan to fix a crumbling stretch of Russell between Boulder and Broadbent Boulevard has been on the drawing board for years. Earlier this year, county officials said they hoped to get a project going this past spring or early this summer.

"Obviously, we didn’t meet that hope," said Shelton. The problem, once again, is in the color of green.

"Funding is the big issue," Shelton said, as dozens of projects compete for limited funds. And the county was forced to reset many road projects as construction costs have skyrocketed in recent years.

"Construction costs have doubled in the past two years, especially with concrete and steel," Shelton said. "Nobody is BSing anybody. It’s just a matter of getting the funding.

"It’s impacting a lot of projects at this time," he said.

Further complicating the project were right-of-way issues and a redesign of the project’s plans.

The good news is, the $3.6 million needed for this work is now in hand. The county has solicited bids for the work, and Shelton expects the County Commission to award a winning bid sometime in the next few weeks.

Work is now scheduled to start sometime in the early fall, with completion expected sometime in March 2008. When finished, the road will have three brand-new lanes in each direction.

But work is likely to be ongoing while what few UNLV football fans there are head to the stadium for the 2007 slate.

"There will be some inconveniences during the football season," Shelton said.

Hit ‘n Run: Road Warrior unindicted coconspirator Erwin Franke caught this vanity license plate on eastbound Sahara Avenue at Fort Apache Road last month: "IO2MUCH." I owe too much.

"Perhaps if they hadn’t spent extra money on vanity plates, they wouldn’t owe as much!" Franke said. "And I sure as hell wouldn’t advertise that fact!"

Better him than me, I say.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call the Road Warrior at 387-2904, or e-mail him at roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com or OSofradzija@reviewjournal.com. Please include your phone number.

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