prospect of 20,000 homes about 28 miles from Hoover
Dam in Arizona and another 88,000 homes farther south
has Boulder City preparing for an onslaught of traffic
through the quiet community.
without the additional homes, Boulder City is already
bracing for the 2008 opening of a bridge downstream
from Hoover Dam that is expected to bring an additional
2,000 trucks a day through the city on U.S. 93.
is going to be a major shock," Boulder City Mayor Bob
Ferraro said about the Rhodes Homes residential development
that includes the 108,000 homes. "The traffic congestion
is going to be quite bad because the people in those
communities who work in Las Vegas will have to come
through Boulder City."
planned 10-mile freeway bypassing the city is not expected
to be completed for at least two decades because of
funding issues, according to Kent Cooper, assistant
director of the state Transportation Department.
has called for the bypass to be built as a toll road,
arguing that tolls would pay for construction costs.
officials, however, say that at least initially, there
will not be enough traffic to support a toll road. During
the bridge's early years, it is expected to handle about
8,000 vehicles daily. To support a toll road, it would
take at least several times that amount of traffic,
are keeping our options open," Cooper said. "Things
could change if we see spikes in traffic."
City officials are worried that the planned communities
in Arizona will substantially increase the new bridge's
month the Mohave County, Ariz., Board of Supervisors
gave Rhodes Homes tentative approval to build The Villages
at White Hills, a project that the developer touts as
affordable rural housing for commuters to the Las Vegas
Valley. With 20,042 homes, the project -- for which
there currently is no timetable -- would create about
three times more homes than the roughly 7,500 now in
Boulder City, which has a population of 15,000.
Board of Supervisors also approved 88,780 homes in three
separate projects near Kingman, about 80 miles from
some Boulder City residents, that portends a traffic-jammed
though, said it is too soon to predict how the Mohave
County developments will affect Boulder City.
is hard at least preliminarily to gauge what the impact
will be," he said. "We are kind of guessing how the
development will occur, but there are very real issues
for Boulder City."
City Councilwoman Andrea Anderson blames Rhodes' officials
for touting the development as an easy commute of 30
to 45 minutes to the Las Vegas Valley. That will not
be the case until the bypass is completed, she said.
would like to see Rhodes get on the bandwagon to get
the bypass in so residents don't get caught in a bottleneck,"
spokesman Bill Marion said the developer is willing
to meet with Boulder City officials.
would love to be involved and are interested in working
with them on their concerns," Marion said.
concerns are exacerbated by the Hoover Dam bypass bridge.
the bridge is built, traffic from Arizona will cruise
over the Colorado River, miss the windy road that leads
from Hoover Dam and connect to U.S. 93 near the Hacienda
hotel. Traffic then would go through Boulder City.
officials support a plan that would take traffic south
of Boulder City, joining U.S. 93 west of the city near
the Railroad Pass hotel.
problem is funding. The Boulder City bypass proposal,
which would cost $300 million, is supposed to follow
a $160 million widening of a three-mile section of U.S.
93 between Henderson and Boulder City. That project,
which involves a stretch of roadway that handles about
40,000 vehicles a day, is expected to start in 2009,
with the Boulder City bypass not beginning until 2025.
only $42 million in federal funds has been designated
for the two projects.
said the state does not have any extra money for the
project, and the Regional Transportation Commission
has several other commitments. A toll road "may be the
only course," he said.
is a glimmer of hope, however, for money to fund construction.
federal government gave state officials permission to
start design work for the Boulder City bypass. Normally,
design work does not begin until funds are available
for construction. That, Cooper said, puts the bypass
in a better position to secure federal funds ahead of
the meantime, Boulder City and the RTC have conducted
a study looking at improving traffic safety. The report,
which will be presented to the City Council in the next
two months, will look at widening U.S. 93 through Boulder
City, adding traffic signals and other improvements.
City Public Works Director Scott Hansen said the council
is unlikely to widen the roadway because it would increase
speeds through town.
option, Ferraro said, is building overpasses for local
traffic over U.S. 93 to help residents avoid tie-ups.