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Sunridge Heights extension may include tunnel under Henderson airport

Updated May 24, 2019 - 2:38 pm

Elon Musk’s Boring Co. isn’t the only company looking at a possible tunnel project in the Las Vegas Valley.

Henderson officials are exploring the option of constructing a “depressed roadway” that would travel underneath a small portion of Henderson Executive Airport as part of extending Sunridge Heights Parkway.

Sunridge Heights is in the process of being extended from near Seven Hills Drive to Maryland Parkway to allow another access point for the Costco that opened last fall. The short extension is slated to be complete this summer, said Kathleen Richards, Henderson spokeswoman.

Additional plans call for extending Sunridge Heights about one mile from Maryland to Executive Airport Drive, where the Raiders team headquarters and practice facility is being constructed. The road would border with the northern edge of the Henderson airport, with a 1,000-foot portion possibly traveling below grade.

The tunnel portion is an option that is being explored as the city wants to ensure all possibilities are looked at ahead of starting the project.

“What we’re doing is looking at the possibility of depressing the roadway and if it’s necessary, putting a cover on that depressed roadway,” Richards said. “Just as an option in the future if it’s necessary for what we could possibly do with that roadway.”

The Henderson City Council last week approved spending up to $98,895 to study the feasibility of adding a possible tunnel portion to the proposed Sunridge Heights extension.

With the stretch of St. Rose Parkway from Las Vegas Boulevard to Eastern Avenue exploding with development, including commercial, residential and retail projects largely fueled by the Raiders deciding to set up shop in the area, officials are looking for a way to add better access to Inspirada, Seven Hills, Anthem and other area neighborhoods.

The hope is to remove some of the traffic from nearby Eastern Avenue, that sees considerable congestion south of St. Rose, officials said.

Department of Aviation spokesman Chris Jones said the road project, specifically the area where a tunnel could be constructed, would be subject to approval from the Federal Aviation Administration as the majority of the planned extension would run through a runway-protection zone at the airport.

A runway-protection zone is a trapezoidal area at the end of the runway that serves to enhance the protection of people and property on the ground in the event an aircraft lands or crashes beyond the runway’s end, according to the FAA.

“Runway Protection Zones provide protection for people and property on the ground,” said Ian Gregor, FAA spokesman. “Where practical, they should be free of any above-ground objects. We have not received a proposal from the Clark County Department of Aviation for any changes in the runway protection zone at Henderson Executive Airport.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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