Construction at Sahara and Hollywood

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Construction at Sahara and Hollywood

Sandoval, Luis, Reporter

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Tand Incorporated closed off the roundabout at Hollywood and Sahara earlier in the month on September 7th and 8th. It closed down, because they were hired to remove the roundabout, and make way for a four way intersection (single lane in each direction). For the next three months, the intersection will be under construction to add more components to the intersection.

The changes done to the road are not extremely drastic. The roundabout was removed and the poles where the masts would go have been set in place as of September 19, 2019. There is a photo showing what is described in the previous sentence.

A letter sent from Tand Incorporated states, “Please have patience with us. This process is inconvenient to the entire community and Tand will do our best to make it as painless as possible.” However, is it necessary to build an intersection instead of leaving the roundabout?

According to wsdot.wa.gov, “roundabouts actually move through an intersection more quickly, and with less congestion on approaching roads.” This is because roundabouts provide a continuous flow of traffic. Studies by Kansas State University have found a 20% reduction in traffic delays, after studying implemented roundabouts. A similar study conducted by IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) supports this statement. They studied 3 states, one being Washington, where they say roundabouts reduce delays by 89%, as well as 56% in vehicle stops. There are many other benefits to having a roundabout, one such being safety.

Roundabouts are good places for accident history. This is from the fact that they are known to keep people safe. Plowing through a roundabout usually isn’t an option since there are people driving. Usually, they have something in the middle of them. This makes drivers yield and abide by the rules of the roundabout.

On the government website, safety.fhwa.dot.gov, “…roundabouts REDUCE types of crashes where people are significantly hurt or killed by 78-82% when compared to conventional stop-controlled and signalized intersections…”

You may be wondering why we don’t just add roundabouts at every intersection. The answer is because the system isn’t perfect. For instance, two lane roundabouts can be dangerous. Another example would be unbalanced traffic flow; people can just simply not let you enter the ring. If you were a lone car, people would prioritize themselves if they are in a longer line. Rough weather conditions can also make roundabouts dangerous, seeing how whenever it rains in Las Vegas, more accidents occur. Also, emergency vehicles are greatly affected by not being prioritized in the driving order.  Every system has its downfalls.

I asked 20 students how they feel about the changes on Sahara and Hollywood. They would answer either the roundabout or the new intersection being implemented as their preference. If they answered intersections, I would ask for their reasoning.

Out of 20 students, 12 students (60% of the students) said they would like an intersection. Many of the points they bring up include the following: it’s more convenient, people are familiar with intersections, it is a busy intersection, and it is dangerous for regular and school buses to go around such a small roundabout. One student expressed that it needs to be constructed faster, but other than that, there was no real opposition. The students that preferred  the roundabout should have been left said things regarding how it makes traffic flow more consistently.

In the end, it may be just a matter of preference and comparing the benefits and disadvantages.

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