Traffic Light Approved Where Girl was Fatally Struck by Car - 8 News NOW

Traffic Light Approved Where Girl was Fatally Struck by Car

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A memorial on the side of Blue Diamond Road following Helen Liu's death. A memorial on the side of Blue Diamond Road following Helen Liu's death.

LAS VEGAS -- A traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of Blue Diamond and Cimarron roads where a 14-year-old lost her life in November.

The board of directors for the Nevada Department of Transportation approved the traffic signal at its Monday morning meeting. Helen Liu was struck and killed by a car as she, and two friends, attempted to cross Blue Diamond Road.

The road is considered one of the most dangerous roads in the state. Eleven people died on Blue Diamond Road last year. Some people who live in the area say a traffic light is long overdue.

At all times of day, cars zip along Blue Diamond Road 55 miles per hour. Sidelined are pedestrians who can't cross the street to get groceries or other items because there are no crosswalks in sight.

 "Are you going to walk 2, 3, 4, 5 miles until you hit another crosswalk?" Raquel Todd asks.

She lives on the south side of Blue Diamond. She crosses the street from the corner hoping no one hits her.

"I don't go at night. It's a lot more dangerous," Todd said.

It was after dark when Liu was struck by a car. Her death is what prompted a study on traffic safety by the NDOT.  The study found crosswalks with push buttons should be placed on Buffalo Drive and Blue Diamond Road and Durango Drive and Blue Diamond Road. It also found a traffic light with crosswalks should be installed at the intersection of Cimarron where Liu died.

"Sometimes it takes a wake up call, unfortunately. That's not a fault of staff. It's not a fault of the board, but sometimes it takes an event like this to wake people up," said Frank Martin, NDOT board of directors.

Pressure from the community helped move the decision along. At Monday's NDOT meeting, Governor Brian Sandoval asked how to expedite the process. It is up to the Nevada Legislature to come up with the money to pay for the project and the cost is estimated at $1 million.

"I think we'll find the money because this is so important. Because we can't afford to have another young teenager lose her life," Nevada State Senator Justin Jones said.

Construction on the traffic light is expected to begin by the end of the year.  NDOT is also doing an audit to see if sidewalks and bike lanes are needed in the area.



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