LAS VEGAS (FOX5) - The Nevada Department of Transportation has added new safety measures for pedestrians on Boulder Highway. Eight new crosswalks were installed along the busy road.
Built in the 1930s, Boulder Highway was created for construction workers, building what’s now known as the Hoover Dam.
“At the time, it was the only highway,” NDOT spokesperson Tony Illia said. “There was no I-15, 215 beltway or the 95.”
Fast forward almost 90 years, “pretty soon there were residential subdivisions, casinos, schools and shops and businesses all located along Boulder Highway and so the character of the roadway changed,” Illia said.
It changed to include a lot more foot traffic. Marty, Vicki and many others live in a senior center. They can’t drive so they have to take the bus. The only problem is that the bus stop is across the street from where they live.
“It’s definitely a residential area,” Vicki said. “People are walking around quite a bit. A lot of people have gotten hit. It’s a shame.”
“It’s pretty scary,” Marty said. “I've been hit once before, I know what it's like.”
“If you went grocery shopping, you had to … jaywalk which I did, and ended up getting a ticket for it because it's too far to walk with all your groceries,” Vicki said.
NDOT saw the danger and fixed it.
“Often times residents, pedestrians can't make it all the way across the span of the highway within a single traffic signal,” Illia said.
It cost $1.5 million to add crosswalks like this one to eight high traffic areas along the highway.
“Adding mid-block crossings, new refugee islands, Danish offsets, overhead flashing beacons, new signage to simply make the area more pedestrian friendly,” Illia said.
“It took a long time to get them but it's good that they have them up now,” Vicki said. “It's very helpful.”
Since the crosswalks are new, people said some drivers still haven’t noticed them.
“I wait until they do [stop] because sometimes it's a little scary because sometimes one tries to get by another one,” Vicki said. “And it's kind of hard to see those flashing lights in the daytime.”
“About 99 percent of the time, they stop,” Marty said. “But there’s always that one or two that are drinking their coffee, doing something, texting.”
But they were hopeful these changes will make their daily routine a safer one.
“Hopefully people get used to them and we won't be hearing on the news every morning someone got hit on Boulder Highway,” Vicki said. “Another pedestrian, it's a sad thing.”
The project improved eight different sections by adding midblock crossings with flashing overhead lights, warning signs and lights, as well as new crosswalks, NDOT said.
"Southern Nevada's boom growth has altered the make-up of Boulder Highway since its inception, adding densely-knit subdivisions, schools and businesses where previously there were none, creating greater street-level interaction," Tony Illia, public information officer for NDOT, said. "However, these are only interim safety improvements until a full corridor makeover can occur."
The Boulder Highway safety improvements were made at:
- Oakey Boulevard
- The Boulder Palms Senior Apartment community
- Whitney Avenue
- Hamilton Avenue
- Corn Street
- Foster Avenue
- Lowery Street
- Veterans Affairs Southeast Clinic
NDOT said this is just a stop-gap fix. It’s working with the RTC to study Boulder Highway and do a complete makeover of the corridor. But that will take a while and will have to be done in phases.
Construction along Boulder Highway is scheduled to finish by summer 2019 to make the highway more pedestrian-friendly.