State Route 160 fenced for safety

This week, readers’ questions are related to a bunch of unrelated topics. We’ll be jumping all over Southern Nevada, so hang tight.

Sally is curious about fences: NDOT has been installing a low fence on a 30-mile stretch of State Route 160. It starts just after you go over the hump at Mountain Springs where the four-lane starts and continues on past the county line at the Trout Canyon exit road. Can you find out what the purpose of this fence is? It appears to be too low to stop a vehicle from rolling over and if the vehicle is large enough I don’t think it would keep one from crossing over into oncoming traffic.

Well, according to Nevada Department of Transportation spokeswoman Michelle Booth, those are indeed cable barriers designed to keep vehicles from veering into oncoming traffic. Any of you who have lived in the Las Vegas Valley long enough are fully aware that State Route 160 can be a treacherous stretch. The Transportation Department’s safety division suggested placing these barriers on curves or sections where vehicles have been prone to lose control, Booth said.

They might not look high enough or sturdy enough to stop heavy vehicles, but apparently they are. Booth said the heavy-duty cables set in concrete footings will withstand impact and deflect the vehicle. They are also safer for the driver because the impact isn’t as significant as it is with less flexible concrete barriers.

Joe wants to turn: Can you find out why left turns from Buffalo Drive on to Elkhorn Road are only allowed with a green arrow rather than traffic signals that have a left-turn arrow and allow a left turn on a green light after yielding to oncoming traffic? Left turns on green after yield are allowed from Elkhorn to Buffalo and allowed at other intersections in the area. There is adequate visibility in both directions of Buffalo to allow for a safe left turn on to Elkhorn. Many times I am sitting at the red arrow waiting to turn on to Elkhorn and there is no oncoming traffic.

Joe is referring to a protected-only signal as opposed to permissive lights, which allow motorists to proceed with left turns after yielding to oncoming traffic. Joe explains that the visibility seems adequate enough to allow drivers to responsibly make a left turn, but for a number of reasons the city of Las Vegas opted to be more conservative at this intersection.

To the west of the intersection, there is a school, a park and a recreation center popular with kids who commonly cross the street at the western portion of this intersection. “Permissive” left turns could put pedestrians in danger. Also, just north of Elkhorn there is a horizontal curve on Buffalo and that could impede a motorist’s judgment as to how much of a gap is available to turn.

This is probably far more than anybody cares to know about an intersection, but the final reason is that a fire station sits nearby and emergency vehicles use this intersection frequently. It is easier to pre-empt signals when they are of the protected sort.

Essentially left-turn controls are decided case by case , but the protective configuration is considered far more safe for both motorists and pedestrians.

Several Sun City Anthem residents have asked about this: When will the city begin widening Volunteer Boulevard?

Hang tight out there. The city of Henderson is working on this project in phases so as not to inconvenience residents in that area, spokeswoman Kathleen Richards said. Improvements are currently being made on Bicentennial Parkway and Via Inspirada. When that is finished, in about two or three months, city crews will turn their attention to Volunteer and Executive Airport Drive. By doing this in phases, Richards said, residents are sure to have an alternate route. Volunteer will be widened to a four-lane roadway.

Scott is frustrated with Fort Apache Road: I was wondering when they were going to connect Fort Apache on both sides of Blue Diamond. I live on the south side of Blue Diamond where the road continues on, but wouldn’t it be great if it went through?

I’m sure plenty of residents in the southwest valley would agree with Scott, but unfortunately Fort Apache will not be extended anytime soon. Clark County does not own the Fort Apache right-of-way south Blue Diamond Road and there are no development projects planned for that area. Typically when new development warrants the extension of the road, the county will acquire the land from the owner or the developer will agree to pay for road improvements to accommodate its new residents.

Nancy wants some peace: For the past few weeks there appears to be a staging area to work on the westbound entrance to the Clark County 215 at Eastern Avenue. Will they also be extending the sound wall for our neighborhood? This wall extension was promised when the property was built, but its never happened and it would make a difference in finally enjoying our backyards.

Not great news for your peaceful backyard. The landscaping project along the Las Vegas Beltway at Eastern is solely a beautification project. The funding for that came from American Recovery Act funds, which requires that the money is specifically used for aesthetics.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call Adrienne Packer at (702) 387-2904, or send an e-mail to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Include your phone number.

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