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Letters to the Editor

Isn’t traffic safety worth a small cost?

A recent commentary in the PVT by John L. Smith (11/05/14), regarding incidents that occurred late at night in a traffic circle on State Route 157, reminded me of the risks that motorists face in the Pahrump Valley.

Here’s a case in point. There’s a road that runs parallel to Highway 160 on the west side which will take you either to the China Wok restaurant or the vehicle service center. During daylight it’s no big deal to safely exit 160 onto that road. In the dark however, you can easily miss the turn and even if your night vision is not impaired, you run the risk of striking a curb – or worse.

The problem might be minimized by applying reflective paint on those unlighted curbs. It’s no secret that Pahrump has quite a few such hazardous corners. Perhaps a better approach would be using standup or pavement reflectors. Any of these fairly simple and relatively inexpensive fixes would substantially improve nighttime visibility at critical junctions and translate to greater traffic safety throughout Nye County.

While I’m on the subject there are a couple of issues that have been hanging out there for some months, with no sign of progress. I am of course referring to the traffic circles slated for State Route 372 at the intersections of Pahrump Valley Boulevard and Blagg Road. Residents were led to believe that those projects were approved by the Nye County Commissioners, based on NDOT reviews as to the frequency and severity of traffic accidents. More than sufficient incentive to get the work done, wouldn’t you say?

Earlier on we were told to expect at least one of the traffic circles, the one at Blagg Road I believe, to be in place by year’s end. Obviously that milestone has yet to be achieved. Then we learned that difficulty in obtaining rights-of-way would likely delay the completion of a “roundabout” at Pahrump Valley Boulevard. So we are now “0 for 2” on traffic circles.

One more thought on that subject. Reportedly, traffic circles, as opposed to traffic lights, would be the most cost-effective solution. If memory serves, maintenance of the circles was estimated to run in the neighborhood of $5000 per year, while lighted intersections could exceed $20,000. Okay, but like the little old lady said, “Where’s the beef?” And when will we see it?

Certainly it’s easy to criticize our public officials for showing little initiative, unresponsiveness and failing to be proactive. At the same time we must accept the reality of budgetary constraints, thorny personnel issues and a general lack of resources. However, despite these shortfalls, some matters surely demand prompt attention and traffic safety ought to rank high on the county’s list of priorities.

Ralph Bazan

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