Saturday, July 15, 2017 | 2 a.m.
The first of many improvements to a deadly stretch of Boulder Highway debuted Thursday.
A new pedestrian crossing along Boulder Highway at Sun Valley Drive, near the Eastside Cannery opened to foot traffic, the Nevada Department of Transportation said.
The improvements include an overhead yellow rapid-flashing beacon, a painted crosswalk, and a Danish-offset median island.
Left-hand vehicle turns are now disallowed, which eliminates potential pedestrian-vehicle conflicts.
Other plans along Boulder Highway include $3 million in upgrades at eight locations. They include:
• A midblock crossing between College and Horizon drives in Henderson
• Improvements at Foster Avenue, Corn Street and Lorey Street in Henderson.
• Midblock crossings near Hamilton Avenue, Oakey Boulevard and Whitney Avenue.
• A midblock crossing at the Boulder Palms Senior Apartments, 4350 Boulder Highway.
Addtional lighting, crosswalks, sidewalks and medians are planned. The six-month construction project is scheduled to break ground in November.
“These planned enhancements will greatly improve connectivity, safety and reliability while enabling greater mobility,” NDOT spokesman Tony Illia said. “Boulder Highway has transformed over time from a major highway into a densely developed urban corridor with several residences, schools and businesses resulting in greater pedestrian activity.”
Built in 1931 as part of the construction of Hoover Dam, Boulder Highway was the area’s only freeway, initially carrying State Route 5 and later serving as U.S. Routes 93, 95, and 466 from near Boulder City through Henderson and into downtown Las Vegas.
When Interstate 15 and the 215 Beltway were constructed, the character of Boulder Highway changed. Residential and commercial development sprouting up along Boulder Highway changed the area’s demographic use and needs, transforming the highway into a community thoroughfare with cyclists and pedestrian traffic.
Since 2006 there have been 44 auto-pedestrians deaths on Boulder Highway, accounting for nearly 10 percent of statewide auto-pedestrian deaths. In 2015 alone Boulder Highway saw eight pedestrian deaths.
The improvements will make the stretch of road a safer area while NDOT participates in a study for a future full Boulder Highway corridor makeover.