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Russell Road project cleared to start

This week, it’s Update Day! Readers want the Road Warrior to revisit plans for work on stretches of Russell Road and the southern Las Vegas Beltway.

And the Road Warrior is offered a revised driving test for the Silver State.

Dave Ellison asks: A few months back, you indicated the stretch of Russell Road between Broadbent Boulevard and Boulder Highway would be repaired. Here we are in mid-August and the "washboard" is rougher than ever.

Clark County engineers had hoped to get that long-delayed repair job started in the late spring or early summer. But the snags that had kept this project stillborn over the past few years resurfaced just as project officials thought they were finally in the clear.

"There was a delay in funding and in the bidding process," said Bobby Shelton, a spokesman for the county’s public works department.

The good news is, that snag is now in the past. The money is in hand, blueprints are drawn up and work is set to start Aug. 27 to rebuild that crumbling stretch of road, which is a main link between Boulder Highway and Sam Boyd Stadium.

"The project has just started," Shelton said, with an estimated completion date of February 2008.

The timing means that fans headed to UNLV football games this fall and the Las Vegas Bowl in December will likely have to work their way around a cone zone. Shelton said county officials are meeting with project managers and UNLV leaders on how to best tackle that problem.

"We’re going to get into football season and early ’08," Shelton said. "Obviously, we’re going to conflict with the football season a little bit."

Good thing nobody goes to UNLV football games anyway. Ha!

Anthony asks: Has the county completed the bid process on the southern Beltway at Decatur Boulevard? Has construction started? Estimated completion?

I think Tony’s talking about the narrow Beltway bridges around Decatur, where six lanes of two-way traffic get squeezed into four lanes and where driver protestations have been an occasional topic of my typing.

For that work, Shelton said bids have been opened and if there are no protests of the lowest bid, a recommendation will soon go to the County Commission for approval. Assuming no hangups, work could start as soon as early October.

A first phase will widen the inside lanes of the bridges in question, with a latter phase then fattening up the outside lanes. The entire project is expected to wrap up by early 2009 at a cost of around $10 million, Shelton said.

The work can’t come fast enough for commuters who’ve found the bridges to be a choke point. Shelton said traffic volumes are almost three times what was originally projected for 2007, and are at levels the county thought wouldn’t be reached for another nine years.

The bridge work is one of a number of Beltway-related southwestern valley road projects currently on deck.

The county also plans to widen the Beltway from four lanes to six between Decatur and Hualapai Way by late in the summer of 2008 at a cost of $9 million, and add a like set of new Beltway lanes from Hualapai to Charleston Boulevard sometime in late 2008 at a cost of $16 million, according to Shelton.

Work is expected to start in early 2008 on extending Decatur from the Beltway to Warm Springs Road, a project that’s projected to take 2 1/2 years to complete, Shelton said.

Hit ‘n’ run: Kevin says it’s time to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to modify its driving test to reflect real-world driving conditions. And Kevin wants to keep it really real.

"You cannot get a driver’s license unless you can drive while talking on a cell phone, eating a burger, drinking a soda, and putting on make-up or changing the radio stations," Kevin wrote. "That’s how people drive here, so let’s start testing them on it."

Hey, we might as well get those car wrecks outta the way ASAP.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call the City Desk at 383-0264, or send an e-mail to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Please include your phone number.

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