Las Vegas Sun

March 25, 2019

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Pedestrian barriers should be on Strip by New Year’s Eve



Bollards similar to the ones the Clark County Commission is having installed along the Las Vegas Strip.

Clark County is on track to finish installing 800 steel posts along the Strip by New Years Eve to protect pedestrians from vehicular attacks — and it’s already set a lofty goal of putting up an additional 7,500 posts next year.

The steel posts — bollards — are equally spaced and connected under the sidewalk. They are designed to withstand the impact of a 15,000-pound vehicle, such as a 30-foot moving truck, traveling at upwards of 50 mph.

Public Works Director Denis Cederburg updated county commissioners on the project at their meeting today. He said the first phase, which covers Las Vegas Boulevard between Tropicana Avenue and Spring Mountain Road, is scheduled for completion by mid- to late December, despite crews running into a few issues involving underground utility lines and landscaping.

Commissioners fast-tracked the project in June, and installation of the bollards began last month. The $4 million project is being funded from the 1 percent hotel room tax.

Each bollard costs $3,600 to purchase and install. The county purchased 1,200 of them — 800 for immediate installation and another 400 to be placed at yet-to-be-determined locations.

Commissioners have already directed staff to move forward with planning for the second phase of the project. That phase is expected to involve the installation of 7,500 bollards to cover the remaining areas of the Strip — from the Las Vegas welcome sign to Tropicana Avenue on the south side, and from Spring Mountain Road to Sahara Avenue on the north.

Areas where the Strip is not yet fully developed, such as in front of the Resorts World site or the Fontainebleau, would be outfitted with temporary barriers similar to the concrete dividers drivers seen on highways during construction.

No estimate has been given for how much the second phase would cost.

Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak has said the entire project should be expedited and completed as soon as possible. He said previously the county should explore using fuel revenue indexing money to fund the project.

“I know we’ll open a newspaper in another week or month and another person will have done it again,” he said, referencing incidents elsewhere in the U.S. and around the world where people have intentionally driven vehicles into crowds of people.

On Oct. 31, a man inspired by the Islamic State rented a truck and drove it onto a popular bike path in New York City. Eight pedestrians and cyclists — all but one tourists — were killed.

Days after that attack, New York officials began putting up additional concrete barriers at intersections. A spokesman for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said officials identified 57 intersections where new barriers will be erected.

Following the attack, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, introduced a bill to authorize $50 million in spending to install traffic barriers nationwide.

Las Vegas has not been immune to such incidents involving vehicles hitting crowds of pedestrians.

In December 2015, an Oregon woman drove her 1996 Oldsmobile onto a sidewalk on Las Vegas Boulevard near Paris Las Vegas and Planet Hollywood, killing one person and injuring at least 34 others.

A decade earlier, in 2005, a Californian drove a stolen Buick onto the sidewalk near Bally’s, killing two and injuring 11.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.