Safety changes coming to busy Boulder Highway

Local News

Pedestrian safety has become a focus along Boulder Highway.

The Nevada Department of Transportation is working on eight projects to reduce the risk to people walking and biking along the busy roadway.

When Boulder Highway was built in the early 1930s it was built for one purpose — moving vehicles back and forth to Boulder City during the construction of what was then known as Boulder Dam.

As the Las Vegas valley grew up around it, the road’s role changed. But the road itself really hasn’t.

Steve Winkel who walks along Boulder Highway daily will tell you it’s scary to be a pedestrian along this roadway.

The nearly 90-year-old thoroughfare is wide, straight and fast — a dangerous recipe for pedestrians.

“Highways aren’t engineered for pedestrian traffic,” said Tony Illia, NDOT.

While the problem is simple, the solution isn’t. NDOT is working on fixes at eight spots along the 14-mile stretch.

That’s $1.5 million to build new crosswalks with more lighting, safety flashers, more signs and zig-zag paths in the median called “Danish offsets.”

“When you pass through the Danish offset, you actually have to turn and face oncoming traffic before you continue on,” Illia said.

NDOT spokesman Tony Illia says the repairs are temporary measures until work can get started on a much larger redesign of Boulder Highway.

The state is working with the Regional Transportation Commission and local agencies to finalize what is being called  the “reimagining” of the roadway.

Pedestrians would have extra-wide sidewalks. There would be double bike lanes on each side of the road. Local and through traffic would be split. And the bus stops would move to the middle along with more mid-block crosswalks.

Those changes and NDOT’s current project are welcome news to residents like Racquel Amos who thinks it would help.

When the larger Boulder Highway re-imagining project is completed state officials say the name of the road could be changed to eliminate the word “highway.”

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