RTC begins traffic engineering project in Sparks

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SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) -- Crews have started work on the intersection of E. Prater Way and Lillard Drive in Sparks as they prepare to install a new traffic signal.

"We're going to make it easier for people to cross the street. We're going to make it easier for cars to cross the street," says Lauren Ball, Public Information Officer for the Regional Transportation Commission. "This was something that the City of Sparks had requested and we're finally able to get started on it."

It's just the first part of a $2.2 million traffic engineering project designed to make sidewalks and roads safer in the area.

"So we'll be doing things like installing traffic signals, updating some of the software and some of the equipment for some of the older signals, re-configuring some crosswalks," says Ball. "So it's a bunch of little projects that add up to make our community a better place."

It means drivers can expect to possibly see several new lane closures and detours over the next few months.

This project is just getting started as drivers are about to get relief from another project going on on Prater Way. After about a year of construction, work on the 4th Street/Prater Way Bus Rapid Transit Project-- which aims to better connect downtown Sparks and downtown Reno-- is wrapping up on the Sparks side. Robert Kovacs, who owns Smog Monkey on E. Prater Way and 15th Street, says he's ready for drivers to come back to this area.

"People just don't want to come out to this area because of the construction," he says. "It's going to be nice when it is done, but we're waiting for it to get done."

Kovacs says he has noticed there are fewer cones and fewer crews out in the area these days and wants drivers who may have avoided the area to know that.

"Just want them to come on down," says Kovacs. "It's not that difficult to get through here anymore. We need your business. We need your support."

People who live on E. Prater Way say with the newly-paved roads and new street lighting, things are already looking better.

"It's nice and bright and it's safer," says Mary George, who lives on E. Prater Way near 16th Street. "I have grandkids so I feel safer knowing there are brighter lights and when they come and visit, I don't have to worry about them getting run over."