Attention all you commuters who cut through McCarran International Airport to avoid the traffic light at Russell Road: By the end of next week this route will trap you in a maze of airport roads and only add to your travel time.
Airport officials are warning motorists to pay attention over the next week as the new $22 million road system along the airport connector opens.
Early Monday morning, crews will remove the barrier that has detoured traffic through the Flight Path Avenue intersection, and the old two-lane bypass will reopen.
The most significant change will occur overnight Thursday when contractors erect a barrier wall that, just north of the connector tunnel, will separate traffic bound for the airport from those exiting. Motorists headed for departure gates or passenger pickup will travel on one side of the barrier on a stretch that eventually splits into two flyovers that dump them off at their desired location.
Those leaving the airport will be on the other side of the barrier where they will be guided below the bridge to Terminal 3 and fed into traffic headed toward the Las Vegas Beltway or along Swenson Street.
“The changes will be a big improvement for everyone who follows the signs,” airport spokesman Chris Jones said.
A wall will also separate traffic headed to the airport and motorists who continue on and use the connector road as a north-south route between the Las Vegas Beltway and Tropicana Avenue.
Commuters continuing on to Swenson Street must stay to the right. Those who previously circumvented the Russell Road intersection by looping through the airport and rejoining traffic north of Russell will now find themselves in the middle of exiting the ticketing curb, parking garage or passenger pickup area.
The road project, which began a year ago, is designed to improve traffic flow in preparation for the opening of Terminal 3 in 2012. Crews have yet to finish the project, which means that the northbound tunnel will not revert back to three lanes for a couple of months.
Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2904.