Find out about Las Vegas construction projects at ‘Seeing Orange’

No one likes getting the runaround when tracking down an answer, but that sometimes happens when people try to find out about the latest road improvements in their neighborhoods.

The Nevada Department of Transportation might punt a question to Clark County. A representative there might forward the inquiry to the city, where officials declare it’s a state issue.

From the questions that come my way, I know it’s happened to a few of you.

“Sometimes as motorists or commuters driving down a road, you don’t really care if it’s an NDOT, or county, or city, or utility project,” NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon said last week during the agency’s board meeting. “You just want to know how long it’s going to be out there and what they are doing.”

The Road Warrior isn’t looking to go out of business or anything, but the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada launched the “Seeing Orange” campaign in May 2015 as a one-stop option for people to learn about street and highway construction projects. The RTC has received nearly 750 inquiries over the past three years.

Those with specific questions can log into seeingorangeNV.com or call 702-928-2663. Calls are acknowledged within 48 hours, and RTC officials deliver inquiries to the appropriate government entities.

For example, questions about Project Neon would go to NDOT. The county would handle issues south of Sahara Avenue. The city of Las Vegas would answer inquiries about Summerlin or Fremont Street.

“The increase in construction in 2014 led to an influx of orange cones, as well as a spike in driver frustration,” RTC spokeswoman Angela Castro said.

“As commuters who live, work and play in Southern Nevada, we understood their frustration,” Castro said. “So the RTC — together with the local governments — started working more closely to provide more timely information and answers to our community about what the projects are, their benefits and impacts to the community, and most importantly, when they would be complete.”

Flashing crosswalk lights

Many crosswalk lights aren’t initiated until someone presses a button at the traffic signal, but Roger from Las Vegas noticed that this isn’t the case when walking along Boulder Highway in the east valley. Roger wanted to know why the overhead crosswalk lights are constantly flashing a yellow beacon when there aren’t any pedestrians around.

NDOT spokesman Tony Illia said there are two pedestrian signals that constantly flash along Boulder Highway: one at Whitney Avenue, and another just north of Hamilton Drive.

“They are woefully outdated,” Illia said. “That is, we are tearing them down and replacing them with new pedestrian push-button activated, overhead rapid-flashing beacons.”

The work is part of a larger $2 million pedestrian safety upgrade scheduled to start by summer, Illia said. Plans call for flashing beacons, wider medians and crosswalks at eight intersections and mid-block segments of Boulder Highway.

Additionally, NDOT and the RTC are working on a $2.4 million study that will outline several short-term and long-term safety improvements along this high-speed corridor.

Clark County saw a record high of 78 pedestrians who were fatally struck on public roads in 2017 — nine of whom were killed while walking along Boulder Highway.

Red for a reason

James from Las Vegas says the emergency signal in front of Fire Station No. 42 at 7331 W. Cheyenne Avenue in Summerlin turns red “for no reason” every 10 minutes — even when there appears to be no activity.

Margaret Kurtz, a spokeswoman for the city of Las Vegas, said there was once a time when traffic blocked the fire station driveways during heavy commuter times.

At some point, city crews made adjustments so the signal would keep access open at the fire station as a way to improve response times for firefighters responding to an emergency.

Currently, the signal’s timing is coordinated with the signal at Cheyenne and Tenaya Way to keep traffic moving. For example, Kurtz said that drivers headed east on Cheyenne won’t be released from the fire station’s traffic signal until the signal turns green at Tenaya.

Questions and comments should be sent to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Please include your phone number. Follow the @RJroadwarrior on Twitter.

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