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On the Roads Again

Photograph by Christopher Smith

While we’re all confined to home, making the occasional trip to the grocery store and running other essential errands, the roads are unusually empty. Now seems like as good a time as any to get all of the roadwork done that inconveniences us on our daily commutes. And if you’ve been out there much, doesn’t it seem like more projects are underway? Once we’re able to safely return to our everyday routines, wouldn’t it be lovely to no longer see so many streets decorated with orange cones? 

Keep your hopes in check, drivers.

With fewer cars on the road, the County has amped up workers’ hours and loosened scheduling restrictions on road improvement projects. Before this shelter-in-place period, roadwork was primarily being done in the middle of the night. Now, projects on and near the Strip, as well as in other areas, have been able to progress during the daytime. This change went into effect on March 19. According to county spokesman Dan Kulin, these changes should help those current projects to be finished on time. 

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Now, these changes might make you think that roadwork will magically be finished by the time we return to normal life — but that’s not necessarily the case. Road workers are following social distancing protocols like the rest of us. This could affect how long it will take to complete projects. Kulin wrote in an email: “For example, you may have fewer workers on a site at any one time, or if contractors limit the rotation of crews. On the other hand, the loosening of restrictions regarding daytime work helps some schedules.” 

Emphasis is continually being put on following the state and federal guidelines for safety. As a result, construction crews are limited to working on one project at a time to decrease contact between groups. This will also impact the construction’s timeline. 

New projects have been started since the shutdown began and more are expected to start within the next month. Since it’s not known how long shelter-in-place will last, it’s difficult to ultimately know the fate of these projects.