October 16, 2016 - 11:06 pm
There’s no debate about it: Expect heavy traffic around UNLV and McCarran International Airport during the evening commute Wednesday.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will square off during the third and final presidential debate at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center, setting off a series of road restrictions and security precautions that will affect traffic severely around the venue.
Oh, and a rock band called the Rolling Stones also will be in town.
“We are working diligently to create a safe environment so everyone has the best possible experience,” UNLV Police Chief Jose Elique said. “We are asking everyone … to be flexible, to plan ahead, allow extra time and please be patient.”
Stretches of Interstate 15, the 215 Beltway, Russell Road, Maryland Parkway, Tropicana Avenue, Swenson Street, Flamingo Road and Sands Avenue will be restricted from 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officials said.
On top of that, five lots and a parking structure at UNLV already are closed, prompting students to find alternate parking as far as the economy lot at McCarran International Airport. Shuttles are available to take students to and from the distant lot Monday and Tuesday only.
For those who take the bus, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada warned that three routes will be affected Wednesday night. Along Route 201, the bus will not stop at Tropicana Avenue between Maryland Parkway and Paradise Road. For Route 108, stops will not be made on northbound Swenson Street between Tropicana Avenue and Flamingo Road. And stops at Tropicana Avenue and Koval Lane will not be made by the northbound Westcliff Airport Express.
RTC officials started strategizing for the event in August to prepare for a potential traffic nightmare. Less than three miles from the debate hoopla at UNLV, the Rolling Stones will be rocking the night away at T-Mobile Arena before a likely sellout crowd of 20,000 fans.
Those marquee events, combined with the road closures and traffic at McCarran International, will lead to unusually heavy congestion.
About 10 workers in the RTC’s traffic management center will make it their sole duty Wednesday night to keep an eye on the roads with help from cameras mounted on traffic signals, RTC spokeswoman Angela Castro said.
The live footage is beamed to large television screens, allowing the workers to determine whether an extra-long green light might help the most jammed intersections around UNLV, T-Mobile Arena or any other areas.
Additional help is coming from the Nevada Department of Transportation, which will scale back heavy construction in the area Wednesday, agency spokesman Tony Illia said.
Coleen from Las Vegas said she recently noticed a speed limit sign that stated “radar enforced” along Pavilion Center Drive near Charleston Boulevard.
“I was wondering what the implications of this sign were?” Coleen wrote in an email to the Road Warrior. “This is a very heavily traveled road, since it is adjacent to a large residential area and a high school.”
The sign was placed there “many years ago” in response to several complaints about speeding cars, Las Vegas city spokeswoman Margaret Kurtz said. The sign is aimed at getting drivers to slow down through the neighborhood, given its proximity to two schools, a community center and a church.
Additionally, officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department regularly monitor the area — usually with radar guns, Kurtz said.
Fort Apache Road was widened recently between Russell and Warm Springs roads, and Garry from Las Vegas wanted to know when additional driving lanes will be marked.
“No striping has been done to indicate how many lanes are actually there,” Garry wrote in an email. “Drivers see a wider road and assume it means additional lanes. Now it’s a free-for-all.”
Striping along this area of Fort Apache should be be completed by the end of this year, Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin said.
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