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Councilman Steve Ross looks at safety of underground tunnels

Councilman Steve Ross looks at safety of underground tunnels

By Heather Klein. CREATED Sep 13, 2011

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - After the brutal murder of a teenage girl, serious questions are being raised about some tunnels that many say can be a trap for other kids who use them as a shortcut.

So much so that Las Vegas City Councilman of Ward 6, Steve Ross, held a meeting with Metro, Public Works and the Department of Transportation to see what needs to be done.  Ross stresses the tunnels had nothing to do with the murder of Alyssa Otremba, but the close proximity raised awareness.

A number of people use the frequently, including local resident Cynthia Dunn.

"Its scary, but I mean, unless you put a bridge going over to the other side with lights all around it (what can you do?)," Cynthia says.

Ross says scary is a big concern for him.

"This one tunnel behind me over here goes for miles and its an attractive nuisance and certainly a public safety issue," Ross says pointing towards a tunnel near the US 95 and Durango.

Ross says police catch kids up to no good inside storm drain tunnels, while the fire department catches them setting tires on fire.  Ross wants to put up a grate to let the water through and keep the kids out.

"That's a no brainer for me so we're going to move in that direction," Ross says.l

However, some of the tunnels are part of the city's trail system, such as the one running underneath the 95.  They're used by joggers, bicyclists, and horseback riders and its not as simple as putting up a gate and calling it a day.

"I've got several emails that say yes close it, I've got several emails that say don't close it, we use it all the time," Ross says.

But until a decision is made, people like Cynthia need to keep using them to get where they need to go.

Ross says he's asked Public Works to find out how much it will cost to gate up the ones used only as storm drains.  While he says he's working to organize a community meeting to find out what can be done with the trail tunnels.