Flyover bridge beats ramp in Las Vegas traffic debate

So many readers have submitted questions to the Road Warrior that it’s time to simply catch up.

I enjoy reading your emails and helping to navigate a resolution for your problems, from fixing potholes and faulty traffic signals to finding out whether some of these roads will be extended.

Please keep those questions rolling in.

Ramp vs. bridge

Construction continues to move along on a 60-foot-tall flyover bridge linking the westbound 215 Beltway to southbound U.S. Highway 95 as part of a $47 million project at the Centennial Bowl freeway interchange in northwest Las Vegas.

James from Las Vegas wanted to know why the Nevada Department of Transportation opted to build a costly bridge, rather than a short, ground-level ramp that would be far less expensive.

It all comes down to keeping traffic moving at what’s expected to become the second-busiest freeway interchange after the Interstate 15-U.S. 95 interchange known as the Spaghetti Bowl, NDOT spokesman Tony Illia said.

“A ramp is no substitute for a flyover bridge, built and designed to state and federal standards with an anticipated lifespan of 50 to 75 years,” Illia said.

A ramp created stop-and-go traffic, resulting in backups onto the freeway, Illia said. In comparison, flyover bridges allow drivers to make a direct connection while still maintaining freeway speeds. The flyover should be completed and ready for use in August.

Beltway favored

Dave from Las Vegas said he has a beef with some timing and sequencing adjustments that were made in February at Windmill Lane and the 215 Beltway in the southwest end of the valley.

In particular, Dave doesn’t like that the adjustments favor traffic coming off the Beltway.

It turns out these changes are the domino effect caused by the temporary closure of the nearby Warm Springs Road exit from the Beltway — which should reopen by June.

Warm Springs is closed because crews are building a $52.5 million flyover bridge linking the southbound Airport Connector to the eastbound Beltway.

As a result, drivers are being detoured to the Windmill exit. The new signal sequence favors vehicles coming off the Beltway as a way to prevent major backups on the ramp and highway, said Angela Castro, a spokeswoman for the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.

Unfortunately, that means more traffic on Windmill.

“We understand the frustration this may cause, but the decision was made in the interest of safety for all drivers,” Castro said.

Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin said the signal timing was recently adjusted in response to your complaint, Dave.

Signals requested

Ronald from Las Vegas wanted to know whether a traffic signal was planned for South Town Center Drive and West Tropicana Avenue. Likewise, Bill said he would like to see a signal installed at Russell and Lindell roads.

Bad news, guys.

“Not at this time,” Kulin said of both requests.

Synchronized signals

We could all use some green time on the road, but not all traffic signals are synchronized with one another, as Roy from North Las Vegas found out. Roy wanted to know whether the signal timing on Fifth Street, between Cheyenne Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard, could be adjusted.

“At night, it is really annoying waiting for the light to cycle, then you drive a couple hundred feet where the next light gets you,” Roy wrote in an email to the Road Warrior.

That two-mile stretch of Fifth Street crosses with some pretty major streets, including Carey Avenue and Lake Mead Boulevard.

The city can’t coordinate the signal at Fifth and Carey due to a lack of fiber connectivity, North Las Vegas city spokeswoman Delen Goldberg said.

And the good news is that the signal at Fifth and Lake Mead is synchronized. The bad news is that it’s coordinated with other signals along Lake Mead and doesn’t favor Fifth.

Rough road

Kevin from Henderson noticed that the pavement was particularly rough on Stephanie Avenue, between the 215 Beltway and Horizon Ridge Parkway, and wanted to know whether there were any plans for repairs.

Henderson city officials are aware of the problem but don’t plan to make repairs until 2020. With the approval of the county’s Question 5 last November to extend the fuel indexing tax, the project should be completed in another year or two, Henderson city spokeswoman Kim Becker said.

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

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