Roundabout plan meets resistance
LAUGHLIN — “No Roundabouts in Laughlin” is the sentiment of a local group about the proposed traffic plan for Nevada State Rout 163 and Casino Drive.
The group set up camp outside of Aldape’s Market Place on Needles Highway Nov. 9, gathering signatures for an informal petition to stop the Nevada Department of Transportation proposal.
Bruce Henry, community activist and former Laughlin Town Advisory Board member, formed the group shortly after the Laughlin Nevada Times ran an article about the proposed roundabout.
The project is planned to begin in 2020, after the completion of the second Laughlin bridge. The bridge project is expected to begin bidding in January and break ground in April or May. Construction is expected to take two years to complete.
NDOT completed a scoping report in 2015 and looked at connectivity, safety, traffic flow and having a “no build” alternative, officials said.
There was some buzz on the Laughlin Buzz’s Facebook page about the roundabout and eventually Henry developed a Facebook page strictly for those who are against the idea of having the roundabout, called No Roundabouts in Laughlin Nv. The site shows 101 members.
“Between online and the written petitions, we have about 350 to 400 signatures,” said Henry.
The petitions are informal at this point but the idea is to send them to NDOT and make it clear the roundabout is not wanted, he said.
“I’ve contacted every representative I could and Arizona Department of Transportation,” Henry said.
At one point ADOT was considering a roundabout on the Arizona side of the Laughlin/Bullhead City bridge but that proposed project is no longer listed on ADOT’s upcoming project website.
Henry also contacted Sen. Dean Heller’s office.
“One employee from Heller’s office contacted NDOT and found out they don’t have the funds for the project yet,” Henry said, providing some hope of being able to change minds about adding it.
While Henry and company are not buying into the idea of the roundabout, Henry was complimentary of NDOT.
“So far NDOT has been very cooperative,” he said. “They’ve been great about communicating with me and acknowledging us and our concerns.”
There are a number of reasons why the group is concerned about the roundabout proposal.
The possibility of forcing local businesses to have to reroute trucks is one of them, said Kathleen Whitehead, a member of the group. The roundabout would be too small for trucks to navigate it, forcing them to take alternative but longer routes, she continued.
“When someone has to reroute trucks, that increases overhead costs,” said Henry.
As grocery shoppers came and went, several commented on the concerns about how drivers don’t know how to navigate a roundabout.
Some needed explanation of what a roundabout is first and then agreed they didn’t approve of having one.
Concerns include whether or not larger vehicles with boats and personal watercraft would be able to drive through the roundabout.
Another concern voiced was the possible relocation of the statue of Don Laughlin at the corner of Casino Drive and Nevada State Route 163 to accommodate the new traffic plan.