Wet ‘n’ Wild traffic congestion may not see relief until next year

Traffic on Fort Apache Road has increased since Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas opened in May in the southwest valley. Relief, in the form of traffic signals, might not come until next year.

Clark County is looking to install traffic signals at two intersections south of the park, at Fort Apache and Warm Springs roads and at Fort Apache Road and Huntington Cove Parkway, according to county spokesman Dan Kulin. Those signals would not be installed until early next year, he said.

Closer to the park — at the intersections of Fort Apache Road and Maule Avenue and Fort Apache Road and Arby Avenue — a traffic study is under way this month to determine whether traffic signals are warranted, Kulin said.

But a study is unnecessary, according to two police officers at the park who asked not to be named. Wet ‘n’ Wild hires Metropolitan Police Department units to assist with traffic at the park.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know there should be a traffic signal here,” said an officer stationed at Fort Apache Road and Arby Avenue.

They said they did not see issues with traffic — such as accidents — just a lot of it. Their main duty, they said, had been assisting kids trying to cross the street.

“At the very least, there should be a crosswalk,” the officer said. He said ones with flashing lights, “like the ones at UNLV,” would be helpful.

“What if it was your kid who gets run over?” he asked.

Fort Apache Road has a speed limit of 35, but the officers estimated that most cars were traveling at least 45.

“It’s a good road (for issuing tickets),” the officer said.

Nearby residents have noticed the influx of traffic, too.

Mara Juresic, who has lived for 10 years in the neighborhood across the street, said there is “way too much traffic.”

“I wish they would just put up streetlights,” she said.

Juresic said the neighborhood streets were filled with cars the during the park’s opening weekend, but the homeowners association has since put up signs threatening to tow, which has largely curbed the problem.

Juresic said she likes the water park and is not upset that it was built near her home. She just wishes traffic congestion and parking had been given more consideration.

“(Fort Apache Road) is the street we use to go anywhere,” she said. “We have to use it. There’s too much traffic. And we have a school here.”

Juresic was referring to Faiss Middle School, which is adjacent to Wet ‘n’ Wild to the north.

If the traffic study determines that a signal is needed, Wet ‘n’ Wild would be responsible for the cost, Kulin said.

“That’s very common when development impacts an intersection,” Kulin said.

A typical traffic signal can cost $200,000 to $500,000 depending on the width of the road, according to the county. And once a signal is determined necessary, it can take about a year to install.

In a statement, Wet ‘n’ Wild officials said they are “unaware of any major congestion caused by park guests.”

The water park has a capacity of 6,000, as determined by health and safety codes, but park officials said they would not release its internal capacity or its sales of season passes.

Wet ‘n’ Wild officials said in the same statement that they expect traffic to subside after its initial few weeks of operation. They encourage visitors to use the secondary parking lot off Maule Avenue and Pearland Street, west of the school.

The park is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. most days and is scheduled to close for the season Sept. 29.

Park officials also said they welcome “changes on Fort Apache Road that may ease traffic concerns around the park” and that they will work with the county on its traffic study.

Contact View education reporter Jeff Mosier at jmosier@viewnews.com or 702-224-5524.

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