Busy intersection getting new safety measures - 8 News NOW

Busy intersection getting new safety measures

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LAS VEGAS -- A busy intersection is about to get a makeover after a number of accidents there, including one that happened just steps away from where our 8 News NOW reporter Patranya Bhoolsuwan was live for the 5 p.m. newscast last November.

It was also the spot where students from a local middle school were gathering to remember their 13-year-old classmate, Helen Liu, who was struck and killed by a car, just days before.

Now, new safety improvements are coming to the area to avoid more fatal crashes. Helen Liu's memorial is still there.

The eighth grader died while trying to cross Blue Diamond at Cimarron, which at the time had no traffic signal and no crosswalk. That is changing thanks in part to a community that spoke out about the dangers on this roadway.

Thirteen-year-old Kileen Campbell and her best friend 12-year-old Kelsey Rowan are seeing first hand the power of team work.

"I worked so hard for this and it is really happening," Kileen said.

The two girls were among the hundreds of people who turned in petitions to try to make the corner of Blue Diamond and Cimarron roads safer for pedestrians.

"We began construction on this project about two weeks ago," Damon Hodge with the Nevada Department of Transportation said.

Hodge says community input has helped fast track this $1.5 million safety project which will put in a traffic light and a pedestrian crossing at the corner, allowing people to activate it when cars need to stop.

Just last November, 13-year-old Helen Liu was killed and two of her friends were injured when they were trying to cross this intersection and hit by a driver who didn't see them.

"It is a scary intersection to cross in your car, so people walking across it it's almost insane," owner of the nearby 7-Eleven Kumar Assandas said.

Assandas says he wishes these safety changes would have been here years ago.

Records show 25 people died in wrecks along Blue Diamond Road in 2006 alone and fatal crashes continue along the busy route.

Despite the safety changes, Kileen, who is entering eighth grade next year, says the best way to stay safe on the road, maybe through an advice she once received from a friend.

"She says, ‘act like every driver is a drunk driver. Always think about that.’ And I said, ‘that is a great way to look at it,’" Kileen said.

Aside from the traffic signal and pedestrian crossing the intersection, NDOT is also putting in two more pedestrian crossings nearby: one at Blue Diamond Road and Buffalo Drive and the other at Blue Diamond and Durango Drive.

The entire project is set to be done by August 22, which is the Friday before school starts in the fall.

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