Santa Road Warrior has sack full of answers

Naughty or nice, readers line up to sit on the Road Warrior’s ample lap and request resolutions to their driving issues in this week’s installment of questions-answers:

Up you go, Jennie. Tell jolly ol’ Road Warrior what you want this holiday season:

“I sometimes take Interstate 215 (Las Vegas Beltway) home via the McCarran International Airport connector to the Russell Road turnoff. Before the light at Russell, there’s a street – Flight Path Avenue – that exits the airport and connects to the airport bypass lanes. If you’re in the right lane so that you can get to the turn lane, the people exiting the airport using Flight Path exit directly into your lane. There isn’t a yield sign for them.

“It can be scary when suddenly you have a car coming into your lane and the only option is to change lanes – which takes you out of the lane you need to be in – or to stop. I’ve almost been rear-ended many times. Could you find out about this?”

The Road Warrior doesn’t have elves per se, Jennie, but he does have contacts around the valley, and here’s what Christine Crew, public information administrator for the Clark County Department of Aviation, says:

“There are three distinct northbound lanes leading from the tunnel, and a fourth lane that eventually appears to the east of those. That fourth lane comes from Flight Path and leads into the right-turn lane onto Russell.

“Problems arise when drivers try to change lanes without yielding to a driver in the adjacent lane, whether it be someone moving from the northbound lanes into the right-turn lane, or those who wish to move from the Flight Path-fed right-turn lane into any of the three northbound lanes.

“A yield sign would not address the issue, as the problem resides with driver awareness and making legal lane changes.”

Steve has a traffic light question, a two-parter, and he gets right to the point: “Why are there so many three-way signals in the valley, and why not have both directions make their left turns at the same time?”

For this one, we turn to Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin, who provides us with a Traffic Light 101 primer: “The reasons for the variations are that left turns come in three types. There’s the ‘lead-lead-thru,’ where both left-turn movements come first, followed by the through movement. There’s the ‘lead-thru-lag,’ where one left and adjacent through movement come first, followed by both through movements and then the other left-turn and adjacent through movement. The third is the ‘thru-lag-lag,’ where the through movement is followed by left-turn movements for each side.

“Clark County uses the most efficient type of left-turn signaling based on the traffic flow approaching any given intersection. Unless there’s a physical constraint that would cause vehicle path conflict, the left-turn phasing can adjust between the three types throughout the day to accommodate traffic flow demand.”

Edie must have been eavesdropping on Steve because she too has a two-part signal question: “Will the county have a dedicated left-turn signal for northbound drivers on Spencer Street turning west onto Windmill Parkway? There’s usually a long line of cars waiting to make the turn. Also, is the light on a timer or does it change when cross traffic is present? It seems to take forever for the east-west traffic light to turn red when there’s no east-west traffic.”

The county’s Kulin says there are plans to add a flashing yellow turn arrow: “The majority of traffic volume is on Windmill and, to maintain good progression, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation will adjust green-light times on Windmill and Spencer as needed for all phases.”

Gregg asks for the completion of construction on Lone Mountain Road, east of Rancho Drive: “It was torn up for what seemed like a year and then repaved and all lanes reopened. A few months later, it’s torn up again and being repaved when there was nothing wrong with it. Any explanation?”

Well, of course, there is always an explanation, even if it might not be one you want to hear.

Jace Radke, city of Las Vegas spokesman, tells us: “That part of Lone Mountain was partially rehabbed after the completion of a major storm drain project late last summer. The storm drain project was funded by the Clark County Regional Flood Control District, and those funds could only be used for rehabbing the portions of the road that were directly affected by the project. The current project is addressing the other segments of the road so that the entire stretch between Rancho and Decatur Boulevard will have undergone a full roadway rehab. It should be completed by mid-January.”

John wonders about the overhead lights on portions of the Las Vegas Beltway that he says are not being maintained: “Some light poles are entirely dark and most have at least one bulb burned out, with some having two or more burned out. This is a safety issue that’s being ignored.”

Not so, says the county’s Kulin, who explains that repairs are made as soon as possible when lights go out: “We have a maintenance contract for the sections of the Beltway that are maintained by the county. Issues such as those described are being addressed.”

So, for John and others traveling the Beltway, “To all, a good night.”

If you have traffic questions or gripes, email them to Please be specific, and include your phone number. Not all questions can be answered in print. Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter: @RJroadwarrior.

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