After a long flight, Fido might need a potty break just as much as his human companion.
Three spots have been designated as where pit bulls, poodles and other pooches can piddle near airline gates at McCarran International Airport.
When nature calls, travelers can take their dogs and cats to enclosed pet relief areas equipped with a stretch of fake grass, red fire hydrants made of plastic and a red biohazard bin for tossing out waste-filled bags.
Airport officials spent $400,000 to equip the new stations, which opened Wednesday afternoon just past the security checkpoints near Gate E-11 inside Terminal 3, near Gate C-25 in Terminal 1 and near a children’s play area in the midfield D-Gates.
The airport opened several outdoor pet potty areas in 2009, but the new indoor facilities were needed as a way to help travelers who already checked into their flight, or stopped off in Las Vegas to connect with another city, McCarran spokeswoman Christina Crews said.
Las Vegas joins several airports across the country with pet relief areas, including Los Angeles, Denver, Miami, Atlanta, Honolulu and Dallas.
“It’s certainly a need because we’re seeing more and more people traveling with their pets,” Crews said.
Pet owners are encouraged to clean up after their animals use the grass turf, but there are other methods to keep smells, germs and residue from building up.
A ventilation system vacuums the air about 10 times per hour, Crews said. A self-cleaning sprinkler system washes the fake grass area, then flushes and drains the water. Maintenance crews also regularly scrub the rooms.
After an hourlong flight Thursday, Joseph and Nelva Rasalan of San Jose, California, ducked into a relief room with their chihuahuas Chester, Chelsea and Jade. The dogs frolicked and nervously sniffed the artificial turf, unsure whether it was safe to use.
Chester and Chelsea weren’t having any part of it. After some hesitation, Jade bravely squatted to do her business.
“We always carry a newspaper and find a location where there isn’t a lot of people so they can go to the bathroom,” Joseph Rasalan said. “Pets are just like family, so having this room for them is pretty great.”
FREEWAY FEDERAL FUNDING
Rich from Las Vegas wanted to know whether federal funds are part of a $33.8 million project underway to add one lane in each direction of Interstate 15 between Craig Road and Speedway Boulevard in North Las Vegas.
“I was led to believe interstate highways were funded by the federal government,” Rich wrote in an email to the Road Warrior. “Why is it being talked about as a Nevada Department of Transportation project, which means my fuel tax dollars are paying for this?”
The project is federally funded, NDOT spokesman Tony Illia said. Nevada will receive $1.9 billion in federal money over five years — that breaks down to $385 million annually — to pay for freeway improvements across the state.
The project is expected to be completed by early 2018, Illia said. About 41,600 vehicles travel daily along I-15 between Craig and Speedway, a number expected to increase by 71 percent by 2033.
Wes from Las Vegas wanted to know why lanes were blocked on Cliff Shadows Parkway after city crews recently completed a project to widen the street between Alexander Road and the 215 Beltway in the northwest.
It turns out two separate projects are underway by the city and a private developer.
Even though crews widened the street, they still had to do some striping and electrical work, Las Vegas spokeswoman Margaret Kurtz said.
Separately, a developer is building a road to accommodate a nearby residential project that’s under construction.
Both sides are coordinating their work, and should wrap up by mid-April, Kurtz said.
HELP ON THE HORIZON
Mike from Henderson says Horizon Drive is pretty rough and in need of repair between Boulder Highway and U.S. Highway 95.
Designs are underway to upgrade this stretch of Horizon, with construction expected in early 2018, Henderson spokeswoman Kim Becker said.
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ROAD WORK AHEAD
— U.S. Highway 95 will be restricted between Rancho Road and just east of Interstate 15 through January. Crews are building a flyover ramp for high-occupancy vehicles as part of Project Neon.
— The Martin Luther King Boulevard onramp and offramp to northbound U.S. Highway 95 will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. March 27 for bridge demolition.
— Martin Luther King Boulevard will be closed in both directions between Bonanza Road and U.S. Highway 95 from 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. March 27 for bridge demolition.
— The northbound U.S. Highway 95 exit ramp to Rancho Drive will be closed from Thursday to June 21 for work associated with Project Neon.
— Lake Mead Boulevard will be restricted between Nellis Boulevard and Ringe Lane from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays through Friday. Crews are completing sewer work.
— Stanley Avenue will be restricted near Nellis Boulevard through March 31. Crews are completing sewer work.
— Commerce Street is restricted between Wyoming Avenue and Main Street through March 31 for road improvements.
— Washington Avenue will be restricted between Rainbow and Decatur boulevards from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays through March. Crews are improving sidewalk ramps and surface drainage.
— Traffic will be redirected and reduced to one lane in each direction of U.S. Highway 95 for about a mile in Boulder City through March. Crews are building a bridge over the highway for the future Interstate 11 corridor.
— Hopi Lane will be restricted between Bonanza Road and Harris Avenue from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays until April 7. Crews are completing sewer work.
— The inside lanes of Interstate 15 will be closed in both directions between U.S. Highway 95 and Owens Avenue until 5 a.m. April 7. Crews are building support columns for traffic management signs.
— Lone Mountain Road is restricted between Cliff Shadows Parkway and the 215 Beltway until April 22. Crews are working on an overpass.
— Southbound Durango Road will be restricted between Wigwam Avenue and Blue Diamond Road from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through April 28. Crews are doing sewer work.
— Warm Springs Road exit from the eastbound 215 Beltway will be closed through June. Crews are building a bridge over the highway.
— Northbound U.S. Highway 95 will be reduced to one lane between Craig Road and the Beltway from 8:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. weekdays through June. Crews are working on the Centennial Bowl ramps.
— Southbound U.S. Highway 95 will be reduced to one lane between Durango Drive and Ann Road from 8:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. weekdays through June. Crews are working on the Centennial Bowl ramps.
— Oakey Boulevard is closed between Main and Commerce streets through July. Crews are installing underground utilities and storm drain infrastructure.
— Summerlin Parkway’s westbound lanes will be restricted between Buffalo Drive and Rampart Boulevard through July. Crews are building a new auxiliary lane and making other improvements.
— The 13-mile scenic route at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area will be repaved in one-mile increments through summer.
— 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 2018.
The average gasoline price Friday in the Las Vegas Valley was $2.61 per gallon. It was $2.65 in Nevada. The national average of $2.29 is down 1 cent from a week ago, up 1 cent from a month ago and up 33 cents from a year ago.