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Out Of Circulation Bridge

This week, readers want to know when the Harmon Avenue bridge over Interstate 15 will open, why we can’t buy new cars on Sundays and why Las Vegas police officers are pulling people over on the highways. Also, we learn whether auto dealerships read this column.

A caller named Cindy asked when the Harmon Avenue bridge over I-15 will be open for public use.

Well, Cindy, it won’t be open until the CityCenter project is done, which isn’t expected until 2009.

The Clark County Public Works Department tries to coordinate construction projects with other activities, said spokesman Bobby Shelton.

But in this case it didn’t work out.

A little history: The Harmon Avenue bridge was under construction before the CityCenter project began, Shelton said.

The bridge was completed in May 2004 for about $11.8 million.

When the CityCenter builders began working, they applied for a permit to close Harmon Avenue to allow for utility work, and the county granted the permit, which left the rest of us with a bridge we can’t use.

Tom Justin asks: “On a Sunday afternoon you can walk down Las Vegas Boulevard with a cocktail in your hand. You can bet your life savings on the spin of a wheel and you can watch naked people dancing on stage somewhere almost anytime. But, you cannot buy a new car on a Sunday. Why not?”

Walter Epprecht is the man to blame.

Epprecht was a longtime Las Vegas car dealer who in the 1970s convinced members of the Southern Nevada New Car & Truck Dealers Association to close on Sundays because he believed everyone needed a day off.

Sunday was chosen because it was the day most folks went to church, his wife, Ilse, told the Review-Journal.

Later on, the Las Vegas City Council and Clark County Commission passed ordinances requiring new car dealerships to close on Sundays.

Tom, I know you want to go give Walter Epprecht a piece of your mind.

You would find the conversation a trifle one-sided. Unfortunately Mr. Epprecht passed away in May.

There doesn’t appear to be any movement to change the law for now.

In the meantime, Tom, it looks like we’re just going to have spend our Sundays drinking cocktails and watching naked people dance.

Jim Wright (along with a bunch of other readers) asks why Metropolitan Police Department officers are giving out speeding tickets on our freeways.

The short answer is: Because drivers are speeding.

The longer answer is that a Multi-Agency Traffic Taskforce was created so valley law enforcement agencies could pool their resources to address traffic issues, said Trooper Kevin Honea of the Nevada Highway Patrol.

The thinking here is “our (the Highway Patrol’s) problems are Metro’s problems and Metro’s problems are our problems,” Honea said.

And it’s not just that police officers will be patrolling the highways, Honea said. For example, troopers will be patrolling school zones and so on.

One caller was quite indignant about the situation and wondered whether Metropolitan police officers really had jurisdiction on the highways.

Yes, the Metropolitan Police Department has jurisdiction for all of Clark County — including the different municipalities, said spokesman Jose Montoya.

Meanwhile, drivers should be watching their speedometers because Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie has made traffic safety a priority and I expect you will continue to see enforcement from different police agencies on the highways.

Last week Jim Brush asked why cars sold in Las Vegas are not equipped with turn signals.

A fair question considering how many folks don’t use their turn signals in the valley.

I challenged the auto dealerships to answer the question promising to print the best one.

But no dealership answered my call (apparently free advertising in a column read by car owners did not appeal to them).

Instead, I came up with the top three reasons why the dealers didn’t respond.

3. Searching the Internet to purchase larger U.S. flag for next publicity stunt.

2. Putting on makeup before filming next television commercial.

1. Too busy removing turn signals from all the cars on the lot.

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

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