Main St. project brings safer streets, more jobs - 8 News NOW

Main St. project brings safer streets, more jobs

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LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas is still recovering from the recession, where southern Nevada lost thousands of construction jobs.

Now, a series of new road projects are kicking off. They are projected to bring 9,000 plus construction jobs to the city of Las Vegas in the next few years.

A groundbreaking was held Monday for one of the projects that focuses on improving roads downtown. It all starts on a stretch of Main Street.

Crews will be adding bike lanes, widening sidewalks and repaving sections of the road. The project alone will bring 104 new jobs and city leaders say many more are to come.

The stretch of Main Street from Bonneville Avenue to the U.S. 95 has never been appealing to Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman.

"Having lived nearby for 38 years, it's not very attractive, never has been,” Goodman said.

It is also not a place cyclists have felt comfortable riding.

"When I first moved here, I tried to do a ride my bike to work. That didn't work so well,” Nevada Assemblywoman Heidi Swank said.

In just days, work will begin to make Main Street safer. Green bike lanes will be added, sidewalks widened, roads paved and lighting improved.

"The motorists notice it. The motorists also know where to find the bicyclist and so they're much more aware," Swank said.

The project does not just create safer downtown streets; it also creates more than 100 new construction jobs.

The road improvements are funded by the fuel tax increase approved by Clark County last year.

City leaders say in all 185 projects are being funded by the tax. Thousands of construction workers will be hired.

"That is going to create over 9,000 plus jobs,” Las Vegas City Councilman Ricki Barlow said.

City leaders say the projects will bring construction jobs back.

"We are at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to unemployment. What this will do is basically re-activate and re-incentivize the construction industry," Barlow said.

And when the process takes over the Arts District next year, downtown businesses say they will reap the benefits.

"Definitely it makes it look better, nicer," business owner Dave Fontani said.

They've already seen the area grow.

"Since I've opened up, about 15 stores have opened up. So there is a lot more traffic down here, a lot more stores down here," Fontani said.

They believe these improvements will draw more people in, along with more jobs. In total, the project will cost near $14 million.

Work starts downtown next week and should be completed by the end of 2015.

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