High-tension steel-cable barriers are increasingly being used on Southern Nevada roadways as a low-cost way to improve the safety of motorists who crash into a median.
A cable barrier system was installed along much of the Summerlin Parkway median at the end of 2016, and will also be used on wide swaths of Interstate 11 when it opens by the end of July.
The network of high-tension cables is supposed to create a springlike effect that supports the weight of vehicles straying from the road.
However, opponents like Don from Las Vegas refer to the wire ropes as “cheese cutter” barriers, claiming they are dangerous to motorcyclists during a crash.
“I’ve raised this issue with the Nevada Department of Transportation and others, but they say ‘so what’ and continue to use the barriers,” Don wrote in an email to the Road Warrior.
NDOT spokesman Tony Illia said the system of wire ropes, supported by steel posts, “provide crucial flexibility, stretching and absorbing the crash force for greater motorist safety.”
Illia also said that the term “cheese cutter” is a “derogatory and inaccurate” misnomer because the wire rope barriers use a dual mechanism to slow a vehicle while diverting excessive force away from the motorist and passengers.
Concrete medians, however, don’t have the same springlike qualities and simply smash up a vehicle, leading to greater injuries and vehicle damage.
“Ropes deflect and absorb the energy and the posts collapse, slowing down and redirecting the vehicle away from the hazard with very little rebound,” Illia said. “In fact, research has proven that wire rope safety barriers are the most forgiving system available, greatly increasing crash victim survival rates compared with other available road barriers.”
Green Valley bumps
Joyce from Henderson wanted to know whether city officials were planning to resurface and repair Green Valley Parkway at the eastbound 215 Beltway exit.
“The exit ramp itself was repaired about a year or two ago, but getting onto the street is pretty bad,” Joyce said. “I have to go slowly over this section, knowing that the cars behind me are accelerating.”
Kathleen Richards, a spokeswoman for the city of Henderson, said there are plans to resurface Green Valley Parkway as part of an upcoming project, but it was unclear when that might happen.
No special lane here
Dave from Las Vegas says eastbound Oakey Boulevard is “screaming for a right-turn-only lane” at Rancho Drive and wanted to know if city officials had any plans to make it happen.
Margaret Kurtz, a spokeswoman for the city of Las Vegas, said there are no immediate plans to install a right-turn lane here because a costly right-of-way land acquisition would be needed to complete the project.
More ‘green time’ needed
Jill from Las Vegas states that the traffic signal at eastbound Craig Road does not provide enough “green time” for drivers turning left onto Camino del Oro in the northwest valley. And, she says, the “walk” signal automatically activates when pedestrians are not around.
Kurtz, the city spokeswoman, said the city will look into the signal timing, which is based on vehicle demand on a given time of the day. As for the pedestrian signal automatically turning on, Kurtz said that it’s standard city policy to have it synced to the traffic signal on major roadways like Craig Road.
Pacing on Pecos
Joan from Las Vegas wanted to know why the speed limit is 35 mph for Pecos Road between Warm Springs and Sunset roads. The speed limit north of Sunset is 45 and south of Warm Springs is 40 mph, but that short in-between area requires drivers to slow down.
“The police seem to love this area and hide in the driveways to catch speeders,” Joan said.
Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin said the speed is reduced along this section of Pecos because the road is dotted with residential driveways and is not equipped with “full improvements” such as sidewalks.
Kulin also noted that there are “reduced speed ahead” signs posted at both ends of Pecos to alert motorists to the 35 mph zone.
Rough ride on Eastern
Ronald from Las Vegas wanted to know when county crews plan to resurface a bumpy section of southbound Eastern Avenue approaching Silverado Ranch Boulevard.
Kulin, the county spokesman, said there’s a plan to smooth out this section of Eastern but it’s unclear when that might happen.
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Road work ahead
— The Sahara Avenue offramp from southbound Interstate 15 will close from 11 p.m. Tuesday to 4 a.m. Wednesday, and again from 10 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday. Crews are restriping the road.
— I-15 will be narrowed to a single lane between Oakey Boulevard and Sahara Avenue from 11 p.m. Tuesday to 4 a.m. Wednesday, and again from 10 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday. Crews are restriping the road.
— The D Street onramp to southbound I-15 is closed through mid-July. Crews are working on Project Neon.
— Sections of Bonneville Avenue, Charleston Boulevard, Grand Central Parkway and Martin Luther King Boulevard will have closed or disrupted lanes surrounding the Spaghetti Bowl as crews work on Project Neon through July.
— Ogden Avenue will be restricted between Main Street and City Parkway through mid-October. Crews are making street, sidewalk and lighting improvements.
— The Charleston Boulevard onramps to southbound I-15 are closed until mid-October. Crews are rebuilding the intersection.
— I-15 will be narrowed in both directions between Sahara Avenue and D Street until Nov. 20. Crews are widening the freeway.
— The ramp connecting southbound U.S. Highway 95 to southbound I-15 will be reduced to one lane and detoured through Nov. 20. Crews are widening I-15.
— The ramp linking southbound U.S. 95 to northbound I-15 is closed through Nov. 20. Crews are widening I-15.
— The Martin Luther King Boulevard onramp to southbound U.S. 95 is closed until early 2019. Crews are building a high-occupancy flyover ramp.
— Gass Avenue will be restricted between Las Vegas and Charleston Boulevards through March 2019. Crews are making pedestrians and bicycle improvements.
— Both directions of U.S. 95 will be narrowed to a single lane between the 215 Beltway and Durango Drive from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly through June 5. Crews are building a carpool ramp at Elkhorn Road.
— Both directions of U.S. 95 are narrowed to a single lane between Skye Canyon Park and Paiute drives through July 12. Crews are building a new interchange bridge.
— Buffalo Drive is restricted between Gowan Road and Cheyenne Avenue through July. Crews are upgrading a gas line.
— Tenaya Way and Torrey Pines Drive are restricted between Gowan and Craig roads through July. Crews are upgrading a gas line.
— Gowan Road is restricted between Buffalo and Torrey Pines drives through July. Crews are upgrading a gas line.
— Craig Road is restricted between Torrey Pines Drive and Decatur Boulevard through July. Crews are upgrading a gas line.
— Both directions of U.S. 95 will be narrowed to two lanes at Elkhorn Road through December. Crews are building a new carpool ramp.
— Jones Boulevard will be restricted between Tropicana and University avenues through June 29. Crews are doing sewer work.
— Eastern Avenue is restricted between Flamingo Road and Tompkins Avenue through June 11. Crews are restoring the street.
— Center Street is restricted between Burkholder Boulevard and Lake Mead Parkway through June. Crews are making various road improvements.
North Las Vegas
— U.S. Highway 93 is restricted between I-15 and Apex Power Parkway through June. Crews are widening the highway and upgrading an interchange.
— Nellis Boulevard is restricted between Cheyenne Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays through July. Crews are installing sewer pipes.
The average gasoline price Friday in the Las Vegas Valley was $3.30 per gallon. It was $3.31 in Nevada. The national average of $2.98 is up 6 cents from a week ago, up 19 cents from a month ago and up 61 cents from a year ago.