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Las Vegas’ transportation options about to change drastically

Whether you’re ready for it or not, the transportation landscape in Southern Nevada is set to change — drastically.

Clark County’s population sits at around 2.2 million and is only going to grow. And the pending openings of the NFL stadium, the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion and Resorts World Las Vegas, among other developments, mean visitation — which topped 42 million in 2018 — should increase, as well.

One key to handling that ever-growing volume is to alleviate the need for more personal vehicles on the already crowded roadways.

With plans and proposals that include an autonomous underground people-mover in the Convention Center District, light rail on Maryland Parkway, an autonomous shuttle program for the downtown Medical District and a European-style tram to the Strip, the way residents and visitors get around the city could look much different in the coming years.

Having a plethora of transit options is a good thing, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution for the region, according to Tina Quigley, general manager of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.

She said the future will likely feature everything from scooters and bicycles to personal cars, autonomous vehicles and other forms of transportation.

“Different types of modes will be appropriate, and the best thing that we can do is capitalize on each one of those modes and their technologies to provide options for moving people,” Quigley said. “We have to do that because there is only so much asphalt, and we’re starting to run out of that room. So we have to turn to technology.”

A glimpse of that future was on display last week, with the announcement of a planned people-mover tunnel system beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Elon Musk’s The Boring Co. garnered national media attention when they unveiled the planned system of tunnels and autonomous vehicles to ferry people around the convention center district. The system could be up and running by as early as 2021 and one day stretch up and down the Strip.

Quigley said it will be important for public entities to work together with those introducing such new transit choices to ensure easy connectivity for riders who arrive using various other modes of travel.

“Having the ability to connect to their system through multi-modal transit stations is important,” she said.

And it’s best to start planning now. The future of transportation in the city is closer than you think.

I-11 lane restrictions

Motorists traveling on the outskirts in Henderson should brace for minor delays this week.

The outside travel lane of Interstate 11 will be closed to traffic in both directions from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday between Railroad Pass and Wagon Wheel Drive, the Nevada Department of Transportation announced last week.

Road maintenance crews plan to work the northbound lane Wednesday and the southbound lane Thursday.

Oso Blanca closure

Oso Blanca Road will close to traffic at Farm Road for multiple days this week in the northwest valley.

The closure begins Monday morning and lasts until 6 p.m. Friday, the Transportation Department announced.

The temporary closure is needed for underground flood control enhancements as part of the $78 million, 6-mile-long widening and upgrade of U.S. Highway 95 between Ann and Kyle Canyon roads.

The project’s scope includes expanding the highway from four to six lanes from Durango Drive to Kyle Canyon Road, constructing Elkhorn Road carpool access ramps and building a diverging diamond interchange at Kyle Canyon Road.

Other enhancements include placing decorative rock and installing new signs, lighting and storm drains.

Construction is scheduled to finish later this year.

Parkway extension

Sunridge Heights Parkway will be extended from Seven Hills Drive to Maryland Parkway in Henderson.

The work, slated to kick off Monday, will link the road to the area where a new Costco opened off St. Rose Parkway in October, Henderson officials announced last week.

The $2.2 million project involves constructing two new travel lanes in each direction, including median islands, street lighting and water and sewer lines. The job is expected to wrap up in August.

The project is expected to provide increased access to an area that is in the midst of a boom, with multiple commercial, residential and retail centers, along with the Raiders team headquarters and practice facility, in various stages of development.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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