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Traffic signals don’t work because wiring not done

This week readers want to know when the traffic signals at Tropicana Avenue and Steptoe Street in the southeast valley are going to start working, what the state law is regarding headlight use, and whether there are plans to build an interchange on U.S. Highway 95 at Sahara Avenue.

Will Hayes asks: We’re wondering if you know anything about the new traffic signals going up near Steptoe and Tropicana. This project is welcomed and they got the signals up pretty quickly. That was before Christmas. So now we have these signals, but they just sit there, teasing us. Any idea when they could get this done or if they are on some kind of six-month backlog?

Erected traffic signals that aren’t operating are one of the many teases Las Vegans must endure. A couple of other teases come to mind, including the Wheel of Fortune slot machines that always spin past $1,000 and fall on $10.

Not to worry, your tease shouldn’t last much longer.

Clark County Public Works spokesman Bobby Shelton said, "The county is waiting for Nevada Energy to get electrical power to this particular traffic signal. What folks can’t see is the fact that the underground wiring for this traffic signal is also not yet in place."

Shelton said the wiring is expected to be done and the traffic signals activated within the next two weeks.

Dwight Harouff asks: What is the law in Nevada regarding headlights? I have seen signs in other states that if you are using the windshield wipers, your vehicle’s headlights have to be on.

A number of states have laws requiring motorists to turn their vehicle’s headlights on if the windshield wipers are in use, including California.

The Silver State isn’t one of them.

Nevada Revised Statute 484.545 states "Every vehicle … must display lighted lamps and illuminating devices (a) at any time from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise; (b) at any other time when, because of insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 1,000 feet ahead; and (c) when directed by an official traffic control device."

The key part of that law is whether a vehicle is visible at "1,000 feet."

Of course, what’s clear to one person at 1,000 feet during bad weather conditions might not be to another person. After all, 1,000 feet is kind of far. It’s just a little bit less than one-quarter mile or about the distance of three football fields.

Regardless, the law doesn’t mention windshield wipers at all.

I should note that traffic safety advocates long have held that it’s prudent to drive with headlights on when windshield wipers are in use.

Robert Fisk asks: Sir/Madam (I thought the beard gave it away, but I guess I was wrong), are you aware if there is a future project to build an interchange on U.S. 95 south at Sahara and Sandhill Road? If so, will it be in the near future?

Yes, there are plans to do that in the future. But it’s way in the future.

A corridor study commissioned by the Nevada Department of Transportation calls for a $1.3 billion widening of U.S. 95 from the Spaghetti Bowl to Henderson, spokesman Bob McKenzie said.

The widening would increase the freeway from six to 10 lanes and see new interchanges built at F Street, Pecos Road and Sahara, near Sandhill, McKenzie said.

This project probably won’t get under way until 2012, at the earliest, he said.

I think that is being a bit optimistic considering the price tag of the project and the economic recession.

Plus the Transportation Department has a number of high-priced projects ahead of that one on its wish list, including widening Interstate 15 from Las Vegas to the California border, and widening U.S. 95 in the northwest valley.

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

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