Plans in place to improve safety on Boulder Highway after 2 pedestrian deaths within week

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 12:13 AM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Two pedestrians were hit and killed on Boulder Highway in separate incidents within the last week. The most recent on New Year’s Eve. Police say Alissa Morena, 33, jaywalked just north of Galleria Drive and was hit by a car. The driver stayed on scene and didn’t show signs of impairment.

On Wednesday night, a hit-and-run killed Manuel Esqueda Jr., 50, on the same stretch of Boulder Highway. Police say he was jaywalking. The driver sped off but days later, police arrested 70-year-old Carlos Lopez-Orellana on hit-and-run charges.

Boulder Highway has been called the deadliest road in Nevada for pedestrians but there are plans to make it safer.

“Specifically, at night it is not the safest spot,” contended Zion Wandick who has lived off Boulder near Russell for 17 years. Driving down Boulder Highway at night, it’s not uncommon to see people crossing the road outside of a crosswalk.

Wandick shared, “Boulder Highway can be dark at some points and the speed is never watched… I had a best friend… also got hit by a car on Boulder Highway.”

In a map pinpointing the locations of pedestrian deaths in Clark County since 2017, dots form a clear line of deaths along Boulder Highway.

Boulder Highway was constructed in 1931 to connect Boulder City to Downtown Las Vegas as the Hoover Dam was being built. It was a heavily traveled and vibrant corridor, lined with casinos, motels, and other businesses. However, in the 1980s the extension of the US 95 freeway led to a slowdown along the corridor. Now there’s a push to give it a new life. The US Department of Transportation awarded the City of Henderson nearly $40 million to enhance safety for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians and also improve lighting and drainage along the road.

The RTC has also shared a rendering of what Boulder Highway could look like in the future with more street lighting, mid-block crossings, and transit stops running through the center. The new Boulder Highway would also include new sidewalks along both sides and buffered bike lanes. The estimated cost to completely redo the highway: $120 million dollars. While pre-construction is underway, the Reimagine Boulder Highway project is scheduled to begin sometime next year.