As Las Vegas residents near the end of 2020, a rather tumultuous and unprecedented year, they will be faced with a project in Downtown Las Vegas that is aimed to modernize the area. While this renovation is exciting, it can bring about major construction and changes to Las Vegas roadways, which can be both distracting and dangerous for drivers.
Transforming Downtown Vegas
Calls for renovating the downtown Vegas area came when Southern Nevada residents learned that the water system running through the area was antiquated, and the pipes were made of wood and other flimsy and short-lived materials. Residents also noticed that faded crosswalk and bike path markings, cracked sidewalks, and older traffic lights needed to be replaced for the safety of both pedestrians and drivers.  Interestingly, we blogged about new construction projects in Reno earlier this year and subsequently Las Vegas is moving ahead with one of its own.
This project, that began in early October, is part of a three-year plan that is costing Las Vegas almost 110 million dollars. It will include the replacing of the water system, renovations of the roads, small changes in traffic patterns, as well as beautification of the downtown area. While these developments are exciting, the Nevada Department of Transportation warns drivers to be careful in the area, and recommend drivers, as well as pedestrians to be extra alert when in the area. The following are suggestion that can help keep everyone safe while driving in construction zones: 
- Increasing Following Distance: Any time you enter a construction zone, it’s important to increase your following distance between other cars. Ideally, you should have between two and three car lengths between you and the car in front of you, which will give you adequate time to stop if you need to. Abrupt stops are common in construction zones.
- Don’t Speed Up Just Because You Don’t See Workers: Often times, you’ll see signs for a reduced speed limit through a construction zone; in some cases, the posted speed may be even lower if workers are present. Even if you don’t see any obvious construction workers, it is still imperative that you obey the posted speed limit signs.
- Merge Properly at Lane Closures: One of the most common causes of car accidents and road rage in construction zones is that of lane closures. When you see a sign posted for an upcoming lane closure, be sure to merge as soon as safely possible. Do not wait until the lane is coming to an end to force your way over into the next lane over.
- Expect Delays: Highway agencies use many different ways to inform motorists about the location and duration of major work zones. Often, the agencies will suggest a detour to help you avoid the work zone entirely. Plan ahead, stay alert and stay safe so you get home safely.
- Obey Posted Signs until You Completely Leave Work Zones: Some work zones — like line painting, road patching and mowing — are mobile, moving down the road as the work is finished. Just because you don’t see workers immediately after you see warning sign doesn’t mean they’re not out there 
Recent Downtown Las Vegas Accidents
Accidents are not foreign to the downtown Las Vegas area. In late September, a three-vehicle accident occurred in the area, resulting in the death of a forty-five year old man.  The man was a pedestrian near the scene of the accident and was struck by one of the vehicles during the motor vehicle collision. This is one of the many pedestrian related accidents in the downtown area during 2020, many of which have been detailed in our blog.
Another motor vehicle accident occurred in this area on October 1st, when a car hit a tractor-trailer.  This resulted in the car getting pinned under the trailer. While no one was seriously injured, the driver of the car was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries. Traffic authorities warn that the downtown Las Vegas area can be congested, especially during peak traffic hours. They advise drivers to take alternate routes, obey speed postings, and be mindful of drivers when in the area.  Still, accidents do happen, and not only due to State or City owned vehicles, but often times due to improper construction or mis-manufactured infrastructure; if this is the case, consult with an experience personal injury attorney to determine whether a claim may be warranted.
Also, accidents from new infrastructure development is not exclusive to Nevada citizens. Moving Ahead, a partnership between the City of Eugene, Lane Transit District, and other regional partners, in Oregon made a similar commitment to update five key corridors in the city in 2015 over the subsequent 10-year period. Like Las Vegas, these infrastructure initiates often create added driving hazards during both the construction and completion of updated roads. However, if someone is involved in an auto accident in Oregon by a State/City owned or contracted service vehicle, faulty construction work or defective development, a victim must retain a licensed Oregon personal injury attorney, such as Jackson Jones Law, one of the out-of-state law firms we refer. Whereas in Nevada, civil actions against Nevada construction entities or State/City of Nevada vehicles may only be filed by a licensed Nevada Attorney.
In conclusion, the Downtown Las Vegas area is experiencing long-awaited changes. While these changes are exciting and necessary, it is important for Southern Nevada drivers to be mindful and cautious when on the road. When driving in congested and busy areas, such as Downtown Las Vegas, and the Strip, it is important to follow simple precautions. Some of these include, keeping a safe distance between yourself and the other vehicles, staying alert for pedestrians, and refraining from weaving between lanes.  These simple steps can reduce the chance of motor vehicle accidents and can improve the road conditions in Southern Nevada.
Road work and closures can be new and confusing, so taking simple steps and being careful can reduce the chance of car accidents and pedestrian collisions, helping keep Nevada roadways safe for everyone.