Sahara Avenue Corridor / Rapid Transit Study

The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) is proposing roadway and bus rapid transit improvements to a 17-mile stretch of Sahara Avenue between the Clark County 215 Western Beltway and Hollywood Boulevard.

The RTC studied several options for improving traffic flow on Sahara Avenue to accommodate short and long-term transportation needs within the corridor. Based on the study, and in response to continued growth and increased traffic congestion in the Las Vegas Valley, the RTC developed several options for improvements including creating dedicated lanes for rapid transit; traffic signal enhancements; minor roadway improvements; paired one-way streets (couplets); a super arterial (like Desert Inn Road between Valley View Boulevard and Joe W. Brown Drive); a tunnel; and overpasses and underpasses at some intersections.

Two public meetings were held in March 2007 and public comments were recorded at the meetings, over the phone, by U.S. Postal Service. and e-mail. The comments were then considered in discussions with affected landowners, the City of Las Vegas, Clark County and the RTC about which combination of proposed improvements should be implemented.

Sahara Avenue Corridor Study Final Report (PDF, 103 MB)

February 2008 Update:  Sahara Corridor Study outcome and the process that led to it

There were several options presented for the expansion of Sahara Avenue at Las Vegas Boulevard during the 18-month study and public comment process. Three alternatives were developed as the result of considering the comments on the different options.

The first of the alternatives was to establish a one-way couplet (a pair of one-way streets going in opposite directions) on and north of Sahara Avenue at Las Vegas Boulevard to accommodate the anticipated growth in traffic demand. The second major alternative was to construct a tunnel beneath Las Vegas Boulevard extending east and west for 200 to 300 feet. The final alternative was the more traditional approach of widening Sahara Avenue at Las Vegas Boulevard.

The first two alternatives, while viable, were rejected by the Steering Committee, the City of Las Vegas and the affected land owners. The one-way couplet alternative was unacceptable because it would be detrimental to affected property owners’ development plans. The tunnel alternative, had many construction-related timing and roadway operation problems.  The project would have taken from 18 to 25 months and would have closed down Sahara Avenue to one lane in each direction, creating significant interruption in traffic flow and access. The land owners in the area rejected the tunnel because they found it unacceptable. The final alternative, to widen Sahara Avenue at Las Vegas Boulevard, was seen by the City of Las Vegas, Clark County, the Nevada Department of Transportation, and the RTC as the most viable of the three alternatives for this intersection and is therefore the preferred alternative.

Map of preferred alternative for intersection of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard

In 2011, minor road improvement construction will begin on segments of Sahara Avenue east and west of Las Vegas Boulevard. The installation of a dedicated lane for rapid transit on Sahara Avenue will begin construction in 2010. The construction of overpasses or underpasses at Maryland Parkway and Eastern Avenue are long-term solutions and a date has not been established for the start of their construction.

Information presented at March 2007 public meetings
Proposed Improvements
for the Sahara Avenue Corridor
The following proposed improvements and conceptual drawings were reviewed during the public involvement process.

Options for Improvements to Sahara Avenue
The illustration below shows how the options change in three sections of Sahara Avenue.

  • From CC-215 Western Beltway to Las Vegas Boulevard – minor road improvements and rapid transit
  • From approximately one block east of Paradise Road to Industrial Road: minor road improvements, rapid transit, tunnel or one-way paired streets known as couplets (Paradise Road entering McCarran International Airport and Swenson exiting it are a couplet)
  • From east of Paradise Road to Hollywood Boulevard: minor road improvements, rapid transit and a super arterial with overpasses or underpasses (like Desert Inn Road)

Minor Roadway Improvements
Minor roadway improvements are proposed for the operations and safety of Sahara Avenue between the CC-215 Western Beltway and Hollywood Boulevard. The improvements include longer left turn bays, free right-hand turns, medians with left turn access and increased traffic signal coordination. The image below provides preliminary conceptual plans of these proposed improvements.

Rapid Transit
The study examined Sahara Avenue as a rapid transit corridor with three rapid transit service options.

  • Center-running along Sahara Avenue within dedicated transit-only lanes
  • Side-running along Sahara Avenue within dedicated transit-only lanes
  • Side-running along Sahara Avenue with mixed flow among other vehicles

This illustration shows the cross section of the side-running transit option in dedicated lanes, as recommended by the study.

Along east Sahara Avenue, between I-15 and I-515, a super arterial is proposed. Conceptually, the super arterial consists of an overpass at Boulder Highway, an overpass at Eastern Avenue, and an underpass at Maryland Parkway.

The following renderings provide conceptual three-dimensional renderings illustrating how the underpass at Maryland Parkway and the overpass at Eastern Avenue would appear.