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May 4, 2015

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Leaders praise completion of I-15 work near Las Vegas Beltway


Steve Marcus

An aerial map shows some of the I-15 improvements during a “grand opening” of the I-15 South Design-Build Project in the Town Square parking lot Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. Construction on $246 million improvement project started in Spring 2010. Yellow lines indicate new pavement, blue lines are new structures and orange lines show extended express lanes.

Updated Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012 | 5:59 p.m.

Highway Project Ceremony

A view of traffic on I-15 looking northbound from the new Warm Springs Road overpass Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. Officials celebrated the Launch slideshow »

After two years of orange cones, detours and road closures, motorists traveling on Interstate 15 near the Las Vegas Beltway interchange will finally be able to drive easy with the completion of the $246 million I-15 South Design-Build Project.

Local leaders, including Gov. Brian Sandoval, gathered Wednesday morning in a parking lot at Town Square to celebrate the completion of the project, which they say will help reduce congestion, improve safety and make accessing the Las Vegas Strip easier for out-of-town visitors.

“We can all expect a more streamlined and safer route on I-15 from Tropicana Avenue to Silverado Ranch, with merging traffic now separated from mainline traffic,” Sandoval said. “There is now faster, easier access to the Las Vegas Strip and McCarran Airport. ... This project is a vital component to ensuring safe, fluid and accessible driving in the corridor that is the economic lifeblood of the Las Vegas Valley.”

The I-15 South Design-Build Project, which broke ground in early 2010, affected an area stretching from Silverado Ranch Boulevard to Tropicana Avenue.

Construction crews added new access roads, widened ramp lanes and built new overpasses to help with traffic flow on and around the highway. Most of the funds for the project came from diverted room tax revenue, with about $30 million combined coming from Clark County and the state. Las Vegas Paving was the project’s contractor.

“This project does a lot to enhance safety. A lot of bottlenecks were eliminated,” said Susan Martinovich, Nevada Department of Transportation director. “When we can enhance safety, enhance accessibility, enhance mobility and ensure the flow of people who live here, people who visit our state – that’s good for Nevada.”

Major changes included in the construction include improvements to the I-15 and Las Vegas Beltway interchange, new bridges at Warm Springs Road and Sunset Road, and a new flyover connecting eastbound Blue Diamond Road with northbound I-15. A number of sculptures and landscaping elements were also part in the project.

About 7.5 million visitors travel each year into Las Vegas using I-15, accounting for an economic impact of about $10 billion according, to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

The I-15 South project provides the capacity to keep up with growing visitor numbers well into the future, Martinovich said.

“Even with the economic downturn, we’re still a rapidly growing state. We’re looking to be proactive instead of reactive,” she said.

The I-15 South project is the second NDOT project to use a design-build construction model in which the design phase and building phase overlap, allowing crews to begin work before the entire project is designed, ultimately saving six months to a year of construction time, said Martinovich.

The first NDOT project to use the design-build model was another I-15 expansion between the Spaghetti Bowl and Craig Road, which was completed in December 2009.

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  1. I agree with MooGoo above. I face the same situation everday on the way home from work....and it sucks!

    $246,000,000 and they ELIMINATED an offramp.

  2. I think in the future the "Express Lanes" will become car pool lanes to satisfy our rulers......I mean social engineers.

  3. I think they did an amazing job, the new access/exit roads on the side work great, I've noticed a big improvement in traffic flow. All in all, it wasn't a headache during the construction period, either. BIG change from the years before when this would have taken 5 years and horrible execution. I do agree with MooGoo as well though, what happened to that Blue Diamond exit????

  4. I agree with many of the posts. This project was poorly designed, with an over reliance of access roads. First of all, why is the speed limit 45 on the access roads?It's ridiculously slow! Also, they built a flyover ramp at Blue diamond, but not 215! There should be one from wb 215 to north 15.

    They may have solved some problems, but they created a whole lot more.

  5. The ramp from 215 E bound to I 15 N seemed like a great idea except now that whole section of road is a logjam during most times of the day. They made it into a merge onto the I15 from the 215, an exit ramp from I15 to trop/Frank sinatra and an onramp from russell. It's a joke. I wonder if any of these "leaders" actually use this section of roadway? Ill tell ya, it was bad during peak times before, now its 10x worse.

  6. it looks pretty, and they have improved the flow on I15, by bottlenecking the merging traffic. Fantastic plan, and like many pointed more than likely that none of the leaders have to use it...

  7. This project is a complete fail on so many levels. The fact that cloverleaf style ramps still exist such as the ramps from I-215 WB to I-15 SB and I-215 EB to I-15 N shows the engineers simply didn't think this one through. Perhaps they became enamored with how pretty it all looked a big flat screen monitor and forgot about how it flows traffic. And getting to Blue Diamond with the ramp removal is a serious point of pain. Also if an out of town driver is not paying close attention coming up I-15 NB and they want to get to I-215 they'll pass the ramp due to small signage and the start of a feeder / collector that begins way too far down I-15 from the interchange. And the ramp from I-15 NB to I-215 EB is just weird and downright dangerous if traffic is moving fast. In short while NDOT thinks they got a good deal Southern Nevada commuters got stuck paying for a boondoggle and what is arguably one of the worst designed projects in America.