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Western 215 Beltway plans are nice holiday surprise

Ho, ho, ho! Clark County is bringing tidings of joy to the 215 Beltway.

It was only last week that we were lamenting the lack of progress on the three-quarters of a loop surrounding Las Vegas to the north, west and south.

The Nevada Transportation Department told me it had nothing planned to get rid of those traffic lights at the Beltway and Lone Mountain and Ann roads.

But here’s the secret of the Beltway: The Transportation Department doesn’t maintain most of the six-lane freeway. Clark County does. I guess that’s why they always refer to it as the “CC-215 Beltway.”

It might look like a highway and sound like a highway, but in reality, it’s a county road.

But that’s where the holiday joy comes in. Even though NDOT has no plans to upgrade that tired traffic-signal issue, the county does.

“Clark County has maintenance responsibility over the majority of the CC-215 Beltway with the exception of the southern section where it is Interstate 215 — Interstate 15 to Warm Springs and from just east of Stephanie Street to U.S. Highway 95 which is maintained by NDOT,” county spokesman Dan Kulin explained.

He said design plans are about 90 percent complete on the Beltway section between Craig Road (which doesn’t have an intersection with the Beltway) to Hualapai Way (which has a full freeway interchange).

Kulin said the project should go to bid early next year, probably by the end of January or early February.

It’ll have an estimated cost of $100 million, but it will include replacing the traffic signals at Lone Mountain and Ann with interchanges.

After hearing that, I felt like I was on a roll, so I asked about the status of that stretch of Beltway on the north side, between Fifth Street (which has a full freeway interchange) and I-15. There are traffic signals at Pecos, Losee and Range roads, and the flashing lights warning motorists that the signal was about to change work erratically at best.

“Sorry,” Kulin said, “The signals and signal-ahead flashers at Pecos, Losee and Range are maintained by the city of North Las Vegas.”

So maybe that’s the biggest Beltway problem. It’s an important transportation link maintained by three entities.

SEEKING PEACE

Warrior reader Dennis just wants a little Peace in a southwestern Las Vegas neighborhood.

“Could you please find out when they are going to open Peace Way between Cimarron Road and Durango Drive? There is only a very small strip that is closed to traffic and prevents Peace Way from connecting to Durango.”

Peace Way is a minor east-west street about halfway between heavily trafficked Flamingo Road and Tropicana Avenue. For residents of the area, it would make sense to finish the road between Cimarron and Durango because westbound traffic on Peace Way has to cut north on Cimarron to West Rochelle Avenue, then south on Durango to get back to Peace.

But alas, there are no plans to finish Peace.

“This section has never been fully improved or opened, and there is no timeline for when that will happen,” Clark County’s Kulin said in an email.

HEAVY TRAFFIC

In addition to the streets surrounding Southern Nevada malls and shopping centers being loaded with last-minute holiday shoppers early this week, watch for potential jams in the vicinity of the Thomas & Mack Center on Tuesday night.

The Runnin’ Rebels are playing what is likely to be one of the best-attended games of the season with a 7:15 p.m. tipoff.

With the nationally ranked University of Arizona Wildcats in town, the arena should be close to capacity.

Watch for traffic to build on Tropicana Avenue east of the Strip and on the tunnel route bypass of McCarran International Airport (Swenson Street) around 6:30.

After Christmas, relax. But not for too long. We likely will start seeing New Year’s Eve revelers arriving by the end of the week.

UNDERGROUND FOAM

How do you fix a highway built on top of unstable soil?

The Nevada Transportation Department just finished building a mile-long chunk of U.S. Highway 93 near Panaca on Geofoam.

Heavy claylike expansive soil conditions prompted the use of Geofoam, which is lighter, less susceptible to expansion and contraction, is 1 percent to 2 percent the density of soil with equal strength and doesn’t break down over time.

The four-month project used 20-by-11-foot Geofoam blocks that weigh about 33 pounds and a total repair cost of $3.6 million.

NEW FLIGHTS

In the spirit of helping Warriors who fly, two airlines are adding flights at McCarran International Airport.

Southwest Airlines, the market leader in Las Vegas, announced the seasonal return of one of its longest routes, a nonstop round trip to and from Manchester, N.H., on Saturdays.

Meanwhile, Volaris, which is kind of a Mexican version of Southwest, last week began flying twice a week between McCarran and Cancun, Mexico.

It’s a somewhat unusual strategy, connecting two resort-centered destinations. Volaris already has nonstop Las Vegas flights to and from Guadalajara and Mexico City.

Questions and comments should be sent to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Please include your phone number. Find the Road Warrior on Twitter: @RJroadwarrior.

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