Neighbors question how F Street project will impact their community

Michael Lopardi

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Neighbors question how F Street project will impact their community

CREATED Sep. 19, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The wall on F Street is coming down but that's also leading to a lot of questions from neighbors about what the changes will mean for their community.

The cement wall doesn't just stop traffic, it separates an entire downtown community. Crews plan to tear down the barrier under Interstate 15 and reopen F Street, connecting West Las Vegas with downtown.

"I think it's a smart idea because a lot of people here [who] spend a lot of time and money downtown can get there faster," said neighbor Mel Givens.

But Givens also has questions.

"How much traffic will be coming through here? What kind of traffic is coming through here?" asked Givens.

Dozens of people took a swing at the wall in a ceremony earlier this week. The city said the street was closed off around 2008, in part because of heavy through traffic. 

"It's going to make a big difference," said neighbor Curtis Williams, who's lived in the area for nearly 40 years. "This is something that we need."

Neighbors also want to know what the finished product will look like.

"We're very confident that the residents and the city will be happy with the finished project," said Damon Hodge, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

NDOT provided Action News with a rendition of what to expect. The project will include new lighting, sidewalks and landscaping for the F Street corridor. Panels will show the area's history. The city said it's working on other projects to spruce up surrounding areas. 

Action News also asked Hodge if the state did enough planning to make sure the traffic problems that led to the original closing don't pop up again.

"Yes," Hodge replied. "Extensive planning is done for each and every project. We have project managers that meet with the residents as well as the businesses and talk about each traffic project that we engage in."

Some are wondering who's paying for the roughly $14 million project.

Hodge said the city of Las Vegas will cover approximately $8 million and the state will pay around $5.5 million.

Work is expected to begin this week and finish around October, 2014.

"I just want them to start and get it over with so business will increase," said Williams.